How A Dog May Have Just Reinvented Pre-Roll Video Ads

by Brian Cox

We all know how annoying pre-roll video ads can be – especially when they have nothing to do with the video content we’re about to watch. Many people hover their mouse cursor over the countdown just itching to click “Skip Ad” the second that option is available. As reported by USA Today, the insurance company Geico, may have found a way to keep people around to watch.

In a nutshell, Geico used only the first 5 seconds (the amount of time someone would have to watch before the “Skip Ad” option appears) and stated, “You can’t skip this Geico ad because it’s already over.” In the background a family acts as if they are frozen in time at the dinner table. On screen is a dog that then proceeds to eat everything on the table while the actors stay as frozen as possible (although you can tell that they aren’t). It’s actually very well done and pretty amusing. The trick is that the Geico logo is on screen the whole time so, in essence, you’re watching the whole ad. The article reports that, on March 3, the ad had “logged more than 725,000 unaided YouTube videos in one day.” That’s pretty incredible.

The reason this ad is seeing so much success is simple. It is one that every dealer or marketer should take note of – they had a strategy. The producers of the ad, the Martin Agency, knew they faced the same challenges and had to solve the same problem that every other company utilizing pre-roll video does – How to stop people from clicking “Skip Ad.” Most companies fail this challenge as not many of these pre-roll video ads tempt anyone to stick around and watch.

So, rather than try to answer the question which most marketers have been unable to, they chose to think outside-the-box. With just 5 seconds to convince people not to click “Skip Ad,” rather than putting the meat and potatoes of the ad AFTER those five seconds, (which is how most traditional pre-roll is organized), they chose to put it BEFORE.

Then they got creative…

What would make someone continue to watch an ad – that’s not supposed to be an ad – after the “Skip Ad” option appeared? From the buzz this has generated, it would seem that a dog having a good old time tearing up everyone’s dinner from atop the table was a winning formula.

I suspect that the success of this campaign will cause other companies to start using those five seconds in other creative ways. The important thing to remember is that simply throwing video onto the Internet is not effective – and it’s not video marketing. Without a strategy in place to make your video marketing efforts successful, you may just be wasting your time.

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