Monday, May 24, 2010

Vivaki’s Select Your Poison Solution

Vivaki is pushing a new online format—called Ad Selector—that allows users to choose the ad that they’re forced to watch before getting to the programming that they want to watch.

Ad Selector gives the viewer the option as to which category—automotive, fashion, retail or food—they want to watch an ad from. Because they give the viewer this option, the publisher charges the advertiser more to run the ad.

The selling proposition is that because viewers “select” the ad, they will be more willing to watch it. The upside, according to a senior VP-Managing director at Havas’ Media Contacts, is that “it guarantees an opt-in impression unlike typical pre-rolls which are foisted on consumers.”

Who’s kidding whom here?

The ad is still foisted upon the viewers because they are still forced to watch something before they can watch what they want to watch. Viewers can’t control the commercial – fast-forward, stop, rewind - nothing. Once viewers opt-in, which viewers are forced to do, the advertiser is still in control as to how long the commercial runs before the program starts.

Vivaki claims viewers watch the commercial longer because they select the commercial in the first place. How do they know?

Viewers can’t opt-out once the commercial starts.

Here’s what Vivaki really needs to do. Let people select the commercial they want and then let them watch for as long as it is interesting/of value to them. In other words, give the viewer complete control.

This puts the onus of engagement on the creative, which is where it should be in the first place.

Media gets the viewer to opt-in. Creative gets the viewer to stay or not stay. The advertiser can hold each agency - media and creative - accountable for what they’re paying them to do.

What I find particularly ironic is that even with all the precise targeting now at our disposal, Vivaki has decided that allowing viewers to decide what’s relevant to them is the best way to go.

Wonder how much it cost to learn that piece of common sense?

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