iMedia Connection

Why the days of interruptive advertising are over

Dan Greenberg

Super Bowl Sunday is a day unlike any other. It's the day we gather to watch titans compete. But, amidst the combat on the field, another contest is taking place all over the country. It's not one of strength or field position. It's a battle of ads.

Super Bowl ads don't really seem like ads at all. We experience them as content because we choose to watch them, and we choose to watch them because the content is awesome. It's why we talk about them long after the game, and why many like them more than the game itself.

Sadly, as Monday comes along, we hate ads again. The reason is simple: Our everyday ads seem determined to hate us back, so we choose not to watch them. And now, more than at any other point in advertising history, consumers have the power to choose what they watch. Additionally, as consumers' ability to choose increases, it's harder and harder to acquire their attention by interrupting them.    

So, let's not interrupt them, but draw them to us by creating content that people want and choose to watch, giving them a reason to share. Let's make every day the Super Bowl. 

There's a Super Bowl-sized audience online everyday just waiting to watch and share great content, making it a lasting part of our culture. Here are five reasons why every day can be the Super Bowl:

Choice

Super Bowl Sunday is no longer the one day a year that people will choose to watch ads.  Millions of people now choose to watch and share brand videos online every day. Additionally, marketers no longer need to rely solely on interruptive advertising delivery models. Social video distribution platforms offer the ability to deliver brand videos across the web solely in choice-based placements.

Creativity

The reason why people choose to watch Super Bowl ads is that they are highly creative. We expect them to be entertaining. Likewise, the growing level of creativity and imagination in online video advertising is bringing that same level of consistent interest among consumers to watch brand videos throughout the year.

We are consistently seeing new forms of branded content, such as Dermablend's "Go Beyond the Cover" series, which are changing the way we think about advertising. It's no longer about the one-hit wonder viral phenomena. Brands are now creating new characters and experiences through online video that people want to keep around in their lives because of their originality and entertainment value.

Sharing

Brands get enormous lift from the word of mouth generated from their Super Bowl ads. Now, sharing via social media has become so engrained in our culture that brands get their creative videos shared every day. This is why videos like Lululemon's "Sh!+ Yogi's Say" can generate hundreds of thousands of shares in fewer than two weeks.

Because of the increasingly central role of social media in our identities, we can now say "we are what we share." As a result, brands have the opportunity to continually produce content that consumers will share with their personal networks if they identify or emotionally connect with it.

Reach

The Super Bowl still boasts the largest reach for a live event, but popular brand online videos are now approaching and even exceeding those viewership numbers in a short amount of time. A quick look at YouTube's most watched ads of 2011, shows that a broad array of brand videos racked up tens of millions of views last year. The speed with which these videos are able to get up to millions of views has also increased, as with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's "The Vet & The nOOb," which quickly eclipsed 20 million views. Expect these numbers only to grow in the years ahead.

Not just for big brands

With genuinely creative content and a smart social distribution strategy, even smaller companies and brands can create a Super Bowl-worthy video, and get it in front of huge audiences for a fraction of the cost. Blendtec continually reinforces this point with their massively popular "Will it Blend?" series, which has now generated over 185 million views to their YouTube channel.

eMarketer recently noted that "68 percent of companies said they were shifting from traditional forms of marketing to more emphasis on branded content," another clear indicator that a wide variety of brands are embracing the content opportunity.

Dan Greenberg is co-founder and CEO of Sharethrough.

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