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Pay To Watch Ads? Sure

Like many of you, I watched a football game last night. Like many of you, I paid particular attention to the commercials. Like some of you, I then went online to watch the ads again -- in this case, at a video site called Hulu.

Hulu had itself run an ad during this game (a highly amusing number that confirmed a theory or two I've had about Hollywood). I thought that was worth some repeat viewing, so I clicked on Hulu's link to play it -- and first had to sit through another ad, a short blipvert of a commercial for Coke.

In other words, I had volunteered to watch an ad promoting a site I'd already decided was worth visiting, but first I had to pay with a few moments of my attention before I could watch that ad. (And here I am telling you about it, sending still more traffic to that site!)

I'm glad I'm not the only one to appreciate the irony of this situation. On the bright side of things, if people will pay to watch ads under the right conditions, I suppose my own industry is not doomed -- we just need to run more ads with monkeys, aliens, talking babies, guys getting tossed out of windows, explosions and beer.

While I'm on this topic: This year marked an especially weak turnout by the tech industry. Nothing will ever surpass the dot-com insanity of the 2000 Super Bowl ads -- anybody remember seeing ads from the likes of Lifeminders and Microstrategy, then wondering who those companies were and how they got the money for their ad spots?--but even since then, we've been able to count on the Web industry for a few chuckle-worthy spots.

This year? Not so much, aside from that Hulu commercial. Priceline and ran decent spots (though the latter ad's line about the jobs-listings firm's "totally rebuilt site" made me think "rebuilt after it got hacked?"), but ran a decent concept into the ground, E*Trade recycled an old gag, and I don't even want to talk about the inanity of's ads. (Disclaimer: I've registered couple of domains through that company, but that was years before it started running Super Bowl ads. Guy, could you please give this schtick a rest already? We're not all 17-year-old boys, you know.)

I was going to embed copies of all these ads I've mentioned -- it's oh-so-easy to do so at Hulu -- but then I realized I'd only be playing into that site's diabolical plot. I hope you understand.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 2, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture  
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So, an effective viral add campaign!

I agree with your negative assessments of the ads such as and

Posted by: Arlington4 | February 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

so, only related.

how did i miss the '3-d glasses?' i go to the local grocery store a few times a week. not to 7-11 or the liquor, granted. but i never saw any promo for the 3-d glasses. not sure i care, but how widespread was the promo?

Posted by: ValleyDriver | February 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I love the attacks on

Uh, guys, have you seen what these ads do for their traffic?

Anybody else remember the line from the movie, "Fame"? "T*ts make the band."

Posted by: mdean3 | February 2, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"we just need to run more ads with monkeys, aliens, talking babies, guys getting tossed out of windows, explosions and beer."

You forgot the babes, Rob. It's really all about the babes.


Posted by: DLDx | February 2, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Pay to watch ads?
If you pay for Cable or such - you Pay to watch ads!

Posted by: UnitedStatesofAmerica | February 3, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The game was boring... Until the very end. The commercials were fairly boring as well..Only a couple gave me a chuckle..

We ended up playing Wii for most of the night...

And whats the deal with the 3-D shows and commercials? If I wanted to waste my time putting stupid glasses on my face to enjoy something I mind as well put on Virtual Reality goggles...

Those 3-D shows will fail soon because of logical people like me.

Posted by: indep2 | February 3, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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