Rogue Advertising

Ad Biz, Heroes, iTV, NBC, NBC Rewind, Nissan, Rogue, Web 2.0

I have recently become a junky for Heroes.  I say recently because I’m a year late to the party. 

After rushing to finish the first season in only two weeks via Netflix, I geared up for the second season only to discover it had already started.  Nice timing, NBC.

Fortunately, NBC has one of the best online content sources on the Web: NBC Video Rewind.

There, I have caught up with what is going on in the second season.  I have been pleasantly surprised with the image and sound quality coming through my home network (DSL and Aiport Extreme) to the point that I have decided not to watch any future episodes on TV.  I just wait until Monday night’s episode is uploaded on Tuesday (which means I have a new episode to watch tonight).

The only thing that irritates me about this service is the advertising model.  NBC is still working out the kinks, but as far as I can tell they have chosen to keep the same format: ten minutes of content followed by a commercial break.  Rinse.  Repeat.

The breaks are only one spot long, and from what I can tell they are devoted wholely to one company that buys all the blocks for a given episode.  That’s not irritating, but what the companies choose to do with their time is.  It’s the same spot they air on television, broadcast over and over and over and over and over…

This is a slap in the face of the medium in which the advertising sits.  This is not TV, don’t run a TV spot.

The only exception is for Heroes episode 205 (2nd season, 5th episode).  This one was snagged by Nissan to advertise their new Rogue crossover (also seen extensively throughout the second season of Heroes).

What Nissan chose to do was make spots specifically for this format.  They aren’t remakes of their TV work or their website; rather, they are interactive snippets that let you scroll over the ads with your mouse to activate information about the car.  You can even click on it to learn more (without interrupting Heroes).  The interactive component quickly exits the screen after 30 seconds, and on with the show:


Great stuff.

It also ties in nicely with the microsite built out for the car. 

At this site, you can learn more about the car, play a few games, and customize your own Rogue (to ultimately purchase):


Try to get the ball past the cabbie in Rogue Baller


Avoid potholes while driving through a digital city in Maze Master.

Inform.  Entertain.  Engage.

Check. Check. Check.

Kudos to Nissan.  You are the first brand (I know of) to figure out iTV. 


iTV now myTV

Ad Biz, Co Creation, Digital Media, iTV, Joost, Media Technologies, myTV, Web 2.0, widgets

Most people in the business of marketing know of Joost if they haven’t already had the chance to play with it.  For those that don’t, let me sum up their service as high-quality, full-length, time-agnostic television broadcast through the Internet. 

Given that it’s a web-based platform, Joost offers viewers basic Internet services as they watch.  For instance, you can instant message your buddies across the globe as you simultaneously watch the same show.  Your screen looks something like this:


(The IM components are in the upper-left and lower-right corners)

Joost aptly calls this IM service a “widget” that can be put on top of your primary content (the show you are watching) as add-on components.  Other examples of widgets on Joost include a news ticker, rating tools (upper-right corner), and an alarm clock.  All are made by Joost programmers. 

The problem thus far is that Joost hadn’t opened up their widget source code so that people could upload their own widgets into the system. Combine this barrier with the fact the programming available on Joost comes from broadcast corporations like MTV and you quickly realize that iTV is not necessarily “myTV”.  I don’t get the rights to upload content – like I do on YouTube – and I don’t get the rights to upload widget applications – like I do on many major social networks.

Well, Joost is opening up, and we should all rejoice.  MIT’s Advertising Lab noted today that Joost has opened their Widget API (or source code) to anyone interested in adding new features. 

According to the Joost forum (where Joost fanatics talk shop), the ideas for new widgets are pouring in.  Here is just a select few (with marketing implications in parenthesis):

  • Queuing – drag/drop/select movies/shows to go into a viewing queue similar to what Netflix offers (marketers could build target audiences by queue content)
  • Show Tagging – let people mark great moments in a show to indicate their favorite/worst moments (think 0f this as a copy test…for better or for worse)
  • Content Screener – let people take a survey that then generates content recommendations (more options for targeting, options for paid search)
  • Shopping Widget – syncs with programming so that people can buy what they see (allows marketers to advertising products in widget that are seen on show)

There will soon be a day when all content is a la carte.  Passive programming and active components will intermingle at my discretion.  TV? Internet?  Who cares?

TV + Internet = iTV

iTV + co-creation = myTV