Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Why the Future of Video Ads Looks a Lot Like Ancient History

Video publishers are still monkeying around with different ad formats. The latest, used by just about everyone except Google’s YouTube (GOOG), is a menu that lets video watchers pick their own ad before the video starts. But the easiest sell is the one where the advertiser is integrated directly with the clip.

That’s tough to do for many reasons, and even when you can do it, it’s pretty hard to scale. But here’s what it’s supposed to look like: Starbucks sponsoring a 25-song video series put on by The Onion.

Simon Dumenco has details on the campaign, but at its core it’s the most basic kind of video advertising, and the kind we saw at the beginning of video advertising. It’s a back-to-the-future version of TV’s early days, when brands like Texaco and Ford (F) sponsored shows called “Texaco Star Theater” and “The Ford Show.”

Back to the present: Look at how much plugging Starbucks (SBUX) has plugged in here! A preroll, plus what amounts to a preroll at the beginning of the video, plus more Starbucks references as the clip goes on. Don’t know what the coffee chain is paying for sponsoring this stuff, but the company seems determined to get its money’s worth.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists cover the Tears for Fears song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus