Friday, October 07, 2005

Wanted: Spot Directors

Viewers submit the programs seen on Al Gore's Current network. Within the next three to six months they'll be contributing the advertising spots, too.

"It's just one of the innovative directions we're inviting advertisers to try with us," CEO Joel Hyatt says, although he declines to name advertisers who've consented to this unorthodox approach.

Why would companies like L'Oréal, a charter sponsor, accept viewers making ads for them? Relevancy, says Anne Zehren, the net's sales and marketing president. "You have the person your product targets on air for you, coming from their viewpoint," she says. "And this will be the only place the ad runs. That's invaluable."

Yet she admits, "It takes a little courage to allow a person outside of a brand's inner circle to create a message."

Current will promote the opportunity for viewers to create ads during commercial breaks and on its website. A member of the ad sales staff will serve as liaison to participating sponsors. Like Current's programming, viewer-created ads will run at various lengths. The ads will not be testimonials, though. (NOTE: Bummer. I spent the summer making guy-on-the-street testimonial videos for various brands.)


At Sunday, October 09, 2005, Blogger JOlmsted said...

Message posted on the Current TV Group MetaCurrent

Hey Anastasia,

> Viewer created ads will be most likely be done in partnershp with specific advertisers who express interest. We haven't nailed down the details of how it will work yet but will announce them as soon as we do.We don't have examples since we haven't launched this effort yet.

In order to stimulate interest in specific advertisers, isn't there a multimedia power-point presentation that shows them why "customer viewpoint videos" are a good use of their resources?

Over the summer, I produced "video blog" stories from events and city streets for the following companies:

Monster Drink
Socko Energy Drink
Scion - Toyota
NORML, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Coke - Odwalla (Organic/Natural Experience)
StonyField Farms
BBG Games
True Blue - Leading Brands
Dreamer Cafe
Rocko Pizza
am1090 Progressive Radio - Seattle
Cliff Bar

all the videos, but two can be seen at
the "Coke - Odwalla (Organic/Natural Experience)" and "Cliff Bar" videos can be accessed at
To access the videos, search for the name of the company or type in my username: digitalreporter on these sites

As a general rule company field reps and lower management are very interested in the idea of customer produced videos, but upper mangement wants no part in them. The gatekeepers work in the marketing department.

Each company/organization on the list has a behind the scenes BS story except NORML. NORML has embraced this new form completely. Last week, I helped launch the first online cash prize video blog contest.

> Not sure what you're talking about in terms of testimonials though -- but I'm sure the format question will be addressed when this program launches.

When the program launches, there will probably be more questions than answers. It is a new concept that does not have a measurable track record.

I produced a series of customer testimonials on the streets of downtown Portloand, OR for Socko Enery Drink in August. Is this type of "customer viewpoint" video be unacceptable for this program?

BTW: Out of all the companies on the list, I believe that "Scion - Toyota" would be up for this new ad format. How can we get your team to do their multimedia "dog and pony" to their marketing group?


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