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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Advertising version 2.0.11

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 5:50 PM

First, I’m going to say that I think this is potentially a million dollar idea. Maybe even more. After my little missive on the giant Web companies and their many millions of dollars of seemingly untraceable income, it might be just the kind of hare-brained scheme that people would pony-up REAL money for. Walking around money. Jet money. I actually woke Dana up the other night with this fever-dream of an idea because I had to share it with someone. “Dana. Dana. Are you awake?!” “Hmmm? What? What is it? Is something wrong with Lauryn.” “No. She’s fine. Probably. Anyhow, I just had an amazing idea. I have to tell you about...”

Why, then, if this is such a goldmine of a brain nugget am I just putting it out in the public domain for any one of you schlubs to just come along and steal as your own? That is indeed a totally valid question. And the answer is, I am an idea guy, not so much a put-them-into-action guy. Plus, I don’t really have the contacts or the wherewithal to make it happen. So, if one of you can indeed take this idea ball, pick it up off the ground, avoid getting smashed in the scrum and take it on downfield to the try line, well, maybe you’ll remember your old Johnnie when it comes check cashing time.

So, the idea...

OK. I’ve decided that it isn’t advertising itself that we hate. It is BAD advertising. Seriously. There are likely some – maybe even many – ads that you enjoy watching. I told you about the magazine ad for Devil’s Cut Bourbon I stumbled across. The ad appealed to me, the product sounded great, and I went out and bought it. And then two more bottles after. (What? That’s not drinking too much bourbon, is it? It seems like just the normal, 2-3 tall glasses a night, amount.)

I often find myself shouting, “Eww! Wait! Stop! Go back, I want to see that!” to Dana when I’ve caught glimpse of a frame of something that looks interesting when she is blasting through commercials at Mach-3 skip speed on her way to the next segment of some design show. Usually it is a movie trailer, or upcoming TV promo, sometimes the World’s Most Interesting Man, sometimes, well, whatever. The point is, there ARE ads that interest me. Ads that I will actually stop, rewind and then watch. And I bet there are ads that interest you too. Super Bowl commercials anyone? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Unfortunately, we have to wade through tons and tons of crap that TOTALLY doesn’t pertain to or interest us in order to randomly stumble across the ads that we DO like. And I can promise you right now: they can show me a thousand, MILLION commercials for tampons and maxi-pads and pearl applicators and whatever and it is NEVER going to influence me. I am NEVER going to say, “Hey, Dana, I saw this great new product you should try. The thing has got wings. Can you believe that? Wings! Seriously! Isn’t that awesome?!” Never. Ever. NEVER gonna happen. And it doesn’t matter how clever or funny or creative they are; it could be the frickin’ Steven Spielberg/JJ Abrahms of tampon ads – and, seriously, we actually saw one the other night that was pretty damn good; well, you know, as a period commercial can go – and I’m STILL not gonna be moved. Because I'm the wrong audience. But advertising is like fishing with a cast net. You gotta throw that thing out far and wide and reel in a bunch of boots and bottles and floating debris in order to catch a few fish. (I'm guessing; I've never actually fished with a net. But I'm trusting you catch my analogy drift.)

But – and here’s the idea – what if there was a way to opt-in to focused advertisements? What if you could TELL manufacturers what you were interested in and then let them tailor those specific ads to you. You would fill out a survey providing info about your likes and dislikes – humorous, snarky, movies, music, beer, scotch, golf, Disney vacations, anything with an “i” in front of it, whatever -- and then you would see ads that A) not only appealed to you but B) would have a much higher chance of you actually acting on them. Advertisers would be willing to pay more for these ads because they already know that you are predisposed to being interested in their product. Higher pay per ad means less ads needed.

Then following ads you could provide quick feedback – thumbs up/down Pandora radio style – to further hone your ad selection, and allow advertisers to gauge the success of that spot. Sick of seeing that same lame-ass deoderant commercial? #Block!

With Web content delivery this should be really easy to do and you could have a log-in that retains your preferences and standing across multiple platforms – ABC, NBC, Apple, Amazon, whatever. Imagine if you could fill out your little ad preference survey and then be given a certain amount of credits. Take longer, more involved surveys and not only get BETTER ads for yourself but earn more credits. Those credits would then give you X-amount of watching time. You would then garner more credits by watching and ranking commercials. It could even be a kind of Hulu thing where you could elect to either watch one giant long add or string of ads and then view your program uninterrupted, or PAY for you program in previously earned credits to watch things ad free or see some commercials interspersed like now. Share commercials that you love with friends and you garner more credits; even MORE if they actually watch the ads. Then there could be a kind of pyramid credit scheme where you could earn residual credits as your recommendations get “retweeted” on to others and others. You become not only a consumer but an ad influencer.

Then if you bought something that was directly influenced from an ad -- like me and my sweet-sweet, oh-so-woody and delicious bourbon; what's that? you want me to drink you now? but I'm at work! really we shouldn't! what's that? who would ever know? -- there could be a method of getting credit for that. "Hey, that ad worked! I saw the movie! I bought the CD! I drank another bottle of that bourbon!" You know, whatever.

And it really doesn’t have to be as icky and Big Brother-ey as it might sound, and you're probably doing it a bit already anyhow. Have you ever seen a great ad that you shared with someone? Like maybe Old Spice guy? Or one of those Europe ads that shows a boob or something? Now you would be getting viewing credits for sharing and watching these ads.

If Google can change the face of advertising by getting people to pay more for targeted ad delivery and then even MORE for an ad click, I don’t see why the same couldn’t work for TV and movie content delivery.

Think about it...

Categories: August 2011, TV

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