Advertisers scramble to aim commericals at Apple’s video-capable iPod users

“Since Apple Computer Inc.’s video iPod made its debut less than four months ago, users have been able to download their favorite TV shows free from ads. Now, advertisers are scrambling for a way to subvert the sleek device for their own purposes,” Suzanne Vranica reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Some companies are attaching recycled TV spots to the beginning of video files, or podcasts, that can be downloaded from popular Web sites. Others are creating new, subtler pitches to bracket shows attractive to their target audiences. And still others are creating their own podcasts that blur the line between entertainment and advertisement in hopes of enticing people to watch the commercials for their own sake. ‘It’s a lot of trial and error,’ says Liz Vanzura, global marketing director for General Motors Corp.’s Cadillac division,” Vranica reports.

“Firms like Nintendo are scrambling to develop advertising to-go to market products to iPod viewers,” Vranica reports. “Video iPods and other hand-held devices such as cell phones have made entertainment portable, with people able to watch episodes of selected programs and other pieces of content at their convenience. The problem is that Apple offers its paid content ad-free on iTunes, including hit TV shows such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives,’ forcing marketers to find new ways to deliver their messages to viewers of other video content available online. Call it advertising on the go. ‘It’s a real challenge,’ says Marlene Coulis, vice president for brand management at Anheuser-Busch. On TV and other traditional types of media, ads are jammed into the middle of shows. When it comes to iPod ads, advertisers are being careful not to become so intrusive as to turn off would-be viewers.”

Full article here.

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  1. We should have a contest for the best 60 second spot that touts the virtues of OS X and the Mac for playing on the video-capable iPod. Then spread the best spot or spots through viral marketing on e-mail and on the web. Any takers?

  2. ads in a paid download would kill it for me. i pay for downloads so i DON’T have to watch those friggin ads. it’s bad enough that DVDs are being set so you can’t skip through the opening ads.

    MW: “against,” as in “i am so AGAINST companies putting ads in pay-for content.”

  3. From: beryllium
    Jan 31, 06 – 09:27 am
    There is no DAMN WAY I will pay $1.99 to watch ads coming before, mixed within, or following after any video.”

    …and the next time you rent or buy a DVD please make sure there are no ads either.

    I do agree with you in pricipal but that’s not what’s realy happening – sad

  4. Beryllium said –

    “There is no DAMN WAY I will pay $1.99 to watch ads coming before, mixed within, or following after any video.”

    I’m with you! Do I get commercials when I d/l audio content? The answer is a resounding “NO”. Then why should I expect it when I want to watch “SouthPark”?

    “….and all the colored girls go, ‘du-de-du-de-du-de-du….”

  5. It would be interesting if Apple and the content providers experimented with multi-tiered pricing – $1.99 for an advert free version, or – your choice – $1.29 for a version with moderate amounts of advertising.

    I could see that eventually increasing profits for the content providers, even if the advertising revenue EXACTLY offsets the reduced price charged… there would be additional sales to those not so interested in a series to pay full price but who’d heard that one episode was especially funny/etc, and some of them might like the series enuogh based on that exposure to become regular customers for the ad free versions, even repurchasing the episodes they’d bought with ads.

    I don’t know at what price points – if any – that effect would occur, but I think it’d be an interesting experiment so long as the advertisement-free versions remain available at a reasonable price.

  6. The advertisers could put those 100 now idled Toy Story 3 artists over at Disney to work on some top class ad/art content that could be marketable as one-of-a-kind iTunes exclusives, perhaps? Maybe they could even give them away as free downloads. Regardless, I’m sure there are many ways to continue to deliver quality ad content thru iTunes. They’ll just have to get productive and creative, I suspect

  7. Commercials as entertainment!
    It would be really nice to see some of Ernie Kovac’s old commercials – the Dutch Masters ones especially. They may have been commercials but they were masterpieces of entertainment.

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