You know how TV ads always seem to be louder than the programmes they intersperse? I’m sure that the advertisers believe that this will draw our attention to them, but I think the real impact is really not as good for them.

If you were watching your show at the right volume, the ads are then too loud. So you immediately grab the remote and quiet it down … whilst it’s in your hand you might as well flick channels, right? Net, you’re not too likely to watch those ads.

Even if you don’t change channel and decide instead to go make a cup of tea or something, you can rely on the ads to be louder than the programme. So, when you hear the telly go quiet from the kitchen, you know to come back. Net, the “make the ads louder” strategy just makes it more likely that the viewers won’t watch at all.

I think this is what’s called emergent behaviour by game theorists…