Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How Advertisers Can Foil the Fast-Forward Button: Ads You Have to Watch

boost-adWeb video may pose a real threat to the TV business, one day. But the DVR is threatening it now. More than a third of all U.S. homes now have TiVo-like digital video recorders, and the majority of DVR users fast-forward through ads when they watch TV.

Advertisers and programmers are doing their best to fight back. They’re tinkering with ad formats–notice all those movie ads that feature the film’s title and release date running across the top of the ad, designed to combat fast-forwarders? And they’re integrating the ads directly into the shows themselves–it’s impossible to watch Bravo’s “Top Chef” without understanding that it’s sponsored by Glad and Diet Dr. Pepper, because everyone on the show keeps referring to Glad and Diet Dr. Pepper.

But here’s another, more straightforward approach: Create ads with visuals so arresting, you have to stop fast-forwarding and watch them.

That’s what happened to me with all three of these ads, all of which happen to be produced by the same agency, Omnicom’s (OMC) 180la, for the same client–Sprint’s (S) Boost Mobile brand.

Now, the ads aren’t actually going to do anything for me–our household is locked into a different Sprint plan, along with one from AT&T (T), for a long time. But now I’m sharing them with you, so that’s worth something, right?

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik