With increasing frequency we’re seeing a new breed of ad campaign where advertisers try to get people to go to their websites to see the continuation of a story or play a game. Surely these are attempts to overcome the advertising obstacles presented by TiVo and Too Few Viewers Spread Over Too Many Channels Disease. And just as surely, they were met with standing ovations in agency planning meetings world-wide. But they strike us as annoying, assumptive, and arrogant.
Why are they annoying? Because they’re trying to trick viewers into thinking they care about our entertainment and made this little story/game/interactive whatever to benefit us, when really they just want to sell us stuff. And we know this.
Why are they assumptive? Because they’re assuming viewers don’t have anything better to do than go to their websites and soak in their product.
Why are they arrogant? Because they so smugly assume viewers will see the “opportunity” to watch their little self-congratulatory mini-films as a good use of time.
If you want people to go to your website, give them a real incentive – a coupon, contest, free sample. And if you want us to think about your product, make us laugh – in a relevant way. How? Here’s a perfect example!
The show 30 Rock, clearly taking advertising dollars for product placement (a practice I believe in wholeheartedly, as long as it is relevant), expands the divorce story between Alec Baldwin’s character Johnny and his soon-to-be ex-wife, played flawlessly by Isabella Rossellini. He wants everything and she says fine – until he gets to their Arby’s franchise. She cries, “Damnit Johnny, you know I love my Big Beef and Cheddar!” Hilarious. Relevant. Now I’m thinking Arby’s – and not just Arby’s, but their slogan even! Genius!