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Online TV spots

August 4, 2009

I’ve often thought that we’re in an interesting time in online ads. For the most part, they are TV ads fitted to the web. And yet, it is totally different. I’ve written about this before, but let me repeat myself again. This is why video on the web is different from video on TV:

1. On the web, one brand gets the whole show. Buy Lost, and it’s the only ad on the show for the entire episode. Our agency bought a pod on ABC.com and used it to tell a story. We didn’t repeat one ad over and over, and we sprinkled the notion that the person watching the show online was actually saving time. Since the program only breaks for one 30 second spot, watching a 1 hour show on the computer takes about 40 minutes.

Lost (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

2. The second difference is we have to watch. With only one spot, there isn’t a need to get up and walkaway. So, we’re actually a captured audience. It’s almost like Cinema advertising used to be. Really entertaining, engaging, and 2:00 minute spots.

All that said, thedailyshow.com recently began showing 2 ads between segments. Still less than on Regular TV, but double what they used to show. So times are changing.

But still, I’m struck my how we force a TV spot into digital when they are so different. Why 30 seconds? If ABC.com is selling a whole show, why make them buy it in 30 second slots? Why not a 2 minute And many TV spots try to hook a person early, to stop them from clicking, or getting up to get a drink. Whereas, the online version doesn’t need to do this (instead, the online version could let people share a spot easier). It could tell a longer story about the the brand. It could, in theory, be episodic (continued in next commercial break).

I know this isn’t what you were talking about, but I think it’s still important. I think telling a story online is different from telling it on Regular TV. At least, for now.

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