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 Monster.com 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 CareerBuilder.com 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 GoDaddy.com'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.
February 2, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture
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