In my last post on television advertising, I mentioned that while video advertising on the web will grow rapidly over the next few years, the $60 billion currently spent on television advertising per year will not go away overnight. What is needed for the industry is a way to make television commercials more relevant, targeted, and dynamic. In other words, some of the best practices and technology from Internet advertising should be brought to television advertising. Well, it is beginning to happen starting with big brands like Wendy’s International. An article in today’s New York Times highlights the new television advertising campaign from Wendy’s where the ad will dynamically update based on what is happening on the football games aired on Fox. While most viewers may not actually get it on the first airing, Wendy’s campaign is definitely a big deal for the industry.
The Wendy’s commercials, to be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports this weekend, are one of the earliest national examples of an emerging TV technology that allows advertisers to vary their message at the last minute. The Wendy’s ads will reflect events in the football games, creating what ad executives call a reverse product placement of sorts. Instead of putting Frostys or Wendy’s fries into a TV program, the company will incorporate a show’s content in its commercials.
TV advertisers are also now able to vary their spots based on audience demographics, changes in weather, sales goals or the campaigns of competitors. Borrowing a trick or two from the Internet, where ads are finely aimed at Web surfers, technology companies are working with consumer brand companies to move away from the one-message-fits-all approach.
“This is where the future’s going,” said Chris Boothe, president of Starcom USA, a media-buying agency that is part of the Publicis Groupe. “We think that everything’s going toward more customization. It’s making sure that the message to the consumer is happening at exactly the time it is relevant.”
Congratulations to portfolio company Visible World for helping Wendy’s and Fox, sticking with its vision over the years, and helping the television industry take advantage of new technology to bring Internet-like dynamicism to an aging platform.