Friday, November 20, 2009

Addressable Advertising

TV ads have always lagged behind their technologically advanced cousins...interactive web ads. Not any more.

<- Pic via WSJ Online

According to WSJ Online, "As Comcast gets close to a deal for control of General Electric's NBC Universal, the big cable operator and Madison Avenue think the merger could lead to some major changes in the $65 billion U.S. television advertising market.
The potential new company could speed the development of interactive TV ads and "addressable advertising."
Interactive ads let viewers vote in a poll or use their remote controls to request more information about a product or apply for a coupon. Addressable, or targeted, advertising uses set-top boxes to route commercials to specific households or neighborhoods based on data about income, ethnicity, gender or other characteristics. It lets an advertiser send a sports-car commercial to a childless home and a minivan spot to a home with children."

This summer, Procter & Gamble Co. teamed up with TiVo for Charmin Toilet Paper. As shown in the pic above, the animated ad has an option in the top-right corner with which viewers can interact. If interested, one can apply for a Charmin coupon using their TiVo remote control. For this kind of one-on-one interaction, Madison Ave is ready to spend the big bucks. Of course, the program remains paused and no part of it is lost during the exchange. The coupon is sent by mail but according to WSJ Online, TiVo has declined to provide results for the ads since the campaign is still on.

While this degree of involvement is every advertiser's dream, the actual process behind interactive ads is far from easy. The ads have to be customized for different TV companies which almost always use different technologies. But what seems tough today can be made simple tomorrow. Soon interactive ads may become the norm rather than the aberration that they are today!

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