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Pre-roll Ads: A Real Throatjob

X-Ray BlowjobThe doorbell rings.  It’s your first date, and the first time you’re seeing him since he accidentally stabbed you with his lightsaber at the Star Wars convention where you met.  You check your lipstick in the hall mirror one last time and open the door with a pleasant smile while trying not to appear too eager.  He smiles back, then whips out his hard cock, grabs you by the hair, and rams his manhood down your throat — not a very good start to the relationship.  So why do marketers insist on using this model?

A Dysfunctional Relationship

When I click on a video, I want to watch the video, not sit through a 15 second ad for a product I don’t give a shit about.  In fact, I develop a hatred for the company shoving their billion dollar cock down my throat and make a point of boycotting their product.  I know other people share my frustration.  Consumers try to circumvent the ads using plugins like Adblock.  Advertisers will then try to circumvent those circumventions, and the race is on.

There is a study by TubeMogul showing that pre-rolls work, but I question what they mean by “work”.  The study only says that pre-rolls have an 84% completion rate, which means 84% of viewers watched the entire ad without navigating away.  Well of course.  I still want to jack off to that video of a girl just staring at the camera and getting 6 million hits, and your pre-roll is making me lose my boner.  Just because I watched your ad, doesn’t mean I feel positively about your product.

Of course, it would be naive to think that free content is actually free, and providers must generate revenue somehow, usually in the form of advertising.  We’ve been conditioned to view ads as a necessary evil, and marketers try to annoy us as little as possible while still remaining feasible.  It’s a tricky balancing act.

Can We Start Over?

Can we stop the fighting already and work together?  I believe that marketing should be a service to the consumer, not a necessary evil.  Marketing should provide consumers with relevant solutions to their problems and enhance the user experience rather than detriment it.  Pre-rolls follow the lead of TV ads, but the internet has one major advantage over TV that we can take advantage of: interactivity.  It lets the consumer talk back, which is a powerful tool for both consumers and marketers.

Consumer Rated Ads

One possible way to leverage this interactivity is to have the consumer rate the ads.

  • It could be as simple as an up-vote or a down-vote like comment ratings on blogs, or a numeric rating from 1 to 5.
  • Ad display frequency would be a function of both marketer money and ratings.  Google Adwords already uses a similar model to great success.
  • Another model could be that the marketer only pays for each time their ad is displayed, up to a cap set by the marketer.  This would allow the marketer to invest more money in their successful ad campaigns and less in their crappy ones.

Consumer Ratings

There are an infinite number of possible models, and admittedly, I’m a crappy business person, so I’ll let the experts hammer out the details.  The key point is that the consumer has a voice, and both sides can benefit from this two way communication.

  • Marketers are incentivized to create more entertaining and compelling ads — a good thing for both consumers and marketers.  It has long been known that people buy based on emotion, not rational thought.  That’s why we’ve seen ads that explain the benefits of a product give way to ads that simply display the product being used by sexy people.  If Coca Cola could get away with it, they’d just use one of the thousand videos on the internet of a twat squeezing out a Coke can.  Instead of forcefully burning images into our brain, they could be wooing their way into our heart (or our loins).
  • Marketers can get a lot of free data that they currently spend a lot of money to obtain.  The current methods are often intrusive in the form of cold calls or forced surveys before accessing a “free” service.  The legitimacy of this research is questionable because the way a survey is designed affects the answers.  Results can be further skewed by consumers who give fun, bullshit responses like I do.  (I once told a telemarketer that my airline of choice was Air Jamaica because they let you fly high while you fly high.)  With a rating system, the consumer will give you an honest piece of their mind, whether positive or negative, of their direct experience of the ad.
  • Sometimes, an ad is cute the first time you see it, but after the 20th time, it gets really fucking annoying.  By graphing how the ratings decline over the number of times displayed, marketers can learn about the longevity of their ads and be able to tune their future ads accordingly.  This data also allows us to adjust the display frequency.

Other Possibilities

We’re just scratching the surface here.  What about a 30 second mini-game that engages the consumer, even leaving them wanting to play it more?  The power of games is undeniable.  Rommil over at Bricks & Clicks suggests what he calls the “quiz skip“, which also takes advantage of interactivity, and has data collection implications too.

Instead of expensive focus groups, marketers could gather a huge amount of data about consumer behaviour and consumer reactions to their ads, right at the source.

I realize that throatjobs can be fun, but only when consensual.  Marketers need to start giving a fuck about their consumers.  Then maybe consumers would give a fuck about their products.  Any healthy relationship is a two way street and the marketer-consumer relationship should be no different.

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10 Responses to "Pre-roll Ads: A Real Throatjob"

  1. Lou says:

    The contrast of black and white plus the spacing plus the font size equals blurry fading texts ah,or do I have what do u call that eyesight thingy that lets u see twinkle twinkle little light?? Well~~ @_@

  2. Lou says:

    And I actually like what u said 🙂

  3. Thanks for comments and checking it out! Yeah, I’m still trying to find a good theme to use. I need an artist, but I have no $$$. (^_^)

    1. Lou says:

      But some of your articles have a greyish background ga bor~ and some in a shade of brown, well, you don’t really need an artist u know, it’s looking pretty good already 😀

      1. Thanks! It’s the best I’ve come up with, given my limited artistic ability. And I still don’t have a logo! I was thinking of maybe some boobs pressed up against a book or maybe some boobs wearing glasses or something. Know any girls with big boobs? Heh.

  4. Ron says:

    I just signed up to your blog’s RSS feed after reading this post! Can you write more about this in future articles?

    1. I’ve been a little lazy lately, but I’m going to start up again soon! Thanks!

  5. Ruth says:

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