It's a heavy burden to bear, but a British invention has been hailed as the saviour of the TV commercial.
The product, being launched by UK company Packet Vision at an Amsterdam trade show this week, claims to facilitate "addressable advertising" in the face of ad skipping machines such as digital video recorders.
The developer says its device screens different commercials to different TV viewers during the same ad break. It works with television delivered via a broadband internet connection (IPTV). TV companies would program the device with demographic marketing information about their subscribers.
Says company founder Patrick Christian: "It's the first medium that allows the targeting to the absolute limit - the advertising can be targeted down to an individual household or down to an individual TV set. The advertiser benefits because he knows his messages are getting through to the right people and only the right people."
IPTV is set to grow to around 12 million users in the UK by 2010. Packet Vision is now seeking alliances with television companies before it markets the device next year.
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff