Zach makes excellent points, arguing that two major challenges are maintaining viewer attention and engagement. Calls to action that encourage online responses risk losing audiences to the many diversionary paths of the warren-like web. The trick, Zach suggests, is to adopt a strategy that directs attention back to the main TV screen. This conveniently calls for synched ads, something for which never.no has just released a solution.
Never.no’s new product, Sync, enables reflexive feedback loops between broadcasters and audiences. This is achieved through the interplay of tablets, laptops and mobiles with on-screen TV content. The aggregate reactions of audiences to televised polls; quizzes and similar gamification models on second screen devices can instantly be broadcast back on the main screen.
This is obviously good for broadcasters as audiences are dissuaded from becoming distracted online and very attractive for advertisers through the heightened brand engagement.
This all sounds very exciting and potentially offers a fantastic new opportunity for creative ad campaigns.
My knee-jerk concerns are a) an awful lot has to be achieved within a 30 second ad slot, and b) the experience could soon wear thin.
Most TV advertising requires the constant repetition of ads. As such, being asked to vote on your favourite pizza topping every ad break could quickly get irritating and earlier respondents may feel marginalised.
However, where I can see the strategy working would paradoxically be if tension is added by delaying results until the subsequent advert rather than being immediately broadcast.
This would achieve a double whammy of keeping participants attention over a series of ad as well as on the main screen. And, if people want to organise online social campaigns in between to influence voting, brilliant!
With a suitable budget and the right creatives advertisers could really start getting clever with ongoing storylines influenced by audiences. Of course, it doesn’t need to be sophisticated: Stick three Z-list celebs beneath gunge tanks and let us vote during X Factor ad-breaks who gets slimed. Use cereal, fabric softener of whatever gunk the sponsors are flogging; I’ll happily engage with my vote every time. Who knows, it could be more popular than the show itself given the way ratings are heading.
This sort of notion recalls the ‘flock to unlock’ type concepts Zach touched on when he began his series of blogs and I am looking forward to his next installment.