Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Creative Advertising Tactics From ABC

As a marketing major, I've always had a critical eye for marketing strategies, especially advertising. I see a ton of advertisements that make me shake my head in dismay, either thinking, "Someone actually got paid for that?" or, "That actually made it past the brainstorm stage!?" Rather than sharing my rants about crummy advertisements, I would much rather share examples of advertisers who "get it" and do things right.

One area I'm particularly touchy about is forced advertisements on web videos. As a child of the 80's, I am accustomed to viewing any video I want online without being forced to watch television-type advertisements. I feel that changing the web video experience to resemble the television viewing experience is a terrible idea from a customer satisfaction standpoint.

Last night I stumbled upon an interesting and innovative way to solve this problem. ABC's web broadcast of its new show Secret Millionaire features an ingenious way to expose viewers to advertisements without interrupting their viewing experience. When a viewer pauses the video, it automatically exits fullscreen mode and displays an advertisement prominently where the video would otherwise be. When the viewer clicks "play", the ad disappears and the video resumes. This virtually guarantees that the ad will be seen by any viewer who clicks "pause," since they will have to look right at he bright ad to click "play" again. It also avoids interrupting the viewing experience, which gives viewers more positive memories of the show. It's a win-win-win tactic for the network, the viewers and the advertisers.

Unfortunately, after claiming the show would be presented with "limited interruptions," ABC included four commercial interruptions for the roughly 45 minute broadcast--nearly one every ten minutes. I'm not here to rant, however. Just imagine what the video would be like if it only included the pause-break ads without the forced interruptions!

How else can advertisers use creativity rather than brute force to gain meaningful exposures?

To view the episode I watched that gave me this breakthrough, check out Secret Millionaire online.


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