Startup #77 – AdSqueeze

Happy Friday from hot-as-freakin’-heck Orlando, Florida.  I’m on my way off to dinner so instead of posting a new idea, I’m going to steal share an idea from my Cambrian House buddy scrollinondubs (aka Sean Tierney). 

Funny story, I posted a comment on another idea and he took my comment and ran with it, creating a full-blown pitch for a new startup idea.  Wouldn’t you know it, it’s currently in the top position in the CH weekly tournament.  Go check it out and (whether you like the idea or not) please vote and let us know what you think:  http://www.cambrianhouse.com/idea/idea-promoter/ideas-id/tcqKAzy/

Here’s a snapshot of the idea, but you really should check out the link above, it’s got more detail and even a nice little video explantion.

The idea: buy small blocks of TV ads on digital cable, pack hundreds of single-frame adverts which can be viewed by people with Tivo and other DVR’s. Embedded in the haystack of single-frame ads is an ad for a fictitious company. The viewer who spots the fake company and successfully completes the scavenger hunt wins the prize of the day. Companies and small business owners pay low relative cost to run a TV ad and get the benefit of viewers interacting and going to their site to determine if it’s real.

Why it will work: TV advertisers are freaking out because DVR technology makes it easy for viewers to skip their commercials. Rather than fight the technology, this approach embraces the capabilities of DVR’s and turns the TV-watching experience into an interactive treasure hunt. It’s unique enough that it should become a topic of buzz. Not only does it help advertisers restore viewer attention in the face DVR’s, it brings TV advertising to a new market.

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3 responses to “Startup #77 – AdSqueeze

  1. OK, that is SLICK. I like it — dare we say that you have just invented TV 2.0?

  2. Excellent idea, but I wonder about the long term aspect of it. For example, all “participants” would have to see the show at the same time and, reasonably quickly, start looking for the treasure. How long until groups are dividing up the work to split the prize? How long until people say, “Someone else has already won..?” In my view, you would need to offer a prize to everyone who completes the treasure hunt, which could get expensive. Presently in a big city, a 30 second ad costs about $250 on a daytime show like Oprah for a local audience. In that case, if you had 20 companies displaying something in the 30 second ad, you’d need to charge all of them an amount that made the company money AND financed the prize. But you can’t charge close to $250 as they could just have the full ad to themselves for that amount. So, let’s say $20 per participant. That gives you about $900 to (1) get paid (2) produce the ad and – which can probably only be used once and (3) pay for the treasure. The next problem would be one of content distribution – no doubt branding intent could be fulfilled as people gave their undivided attention to each frame, but the loss of sound and motion as a medium means the still ads must be REALLY strong to have any affect.

    Great idea, but tons of logistical details would need to be worked out to make the trouble worth going through. TV advertising is effective over time. No TV rep on earth would sell a company only a couple of ads. Interesting thoughts though…

  3. Great analysis, Colin. Agree that there are a ton of details to be worked out on this one.

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