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Data: A Tool to Reinvigorate Advertising

by Jodee Hale-Schmid

August 27, 2010

Authored by David Kuketz, EIM Client Partner – Southeast, Utopia, Inc.


Once upon a time, there was this crazy idea – what if cataloging and auctioning spots in movies and shows for ad placement – contextual ads, modified by region for demographic / geographic optimization, could reinvigorate the advertising industry? For example, a soda can – a generic “green screen” soda can, that could be used in a scene (act 3, scene 5, of episode 7, of some show #1234, of XYZ studios, location #9) which would be known from history to generate 1M eyeballs for 30 seconds (assume it’s a funny scene that takes place in a restaurant).

Here’s what the “schema” might look like, for the static information:

< /tr>
Name: XYZ Studios
Location: 9, Burbank, CA
Show: #1234, “Restaurateurs”
Episode: 7
Act: 3
Scene: 5, Table in Restaurant
Duration: 30 seconds
What: Generic Soda Can
Brand: to be auctioned
Primary Key: XYZ.9.1234.3.5

That virtual soda can would be bid out to auction for advertising space, on an advertis ing auctioning platform, to a variety of some beer, soda, or juice makers, or whomever, for the highest payment for that spot in that particular scene. We have seen product placement in shows and movies, where the actors have to hold the object with the logo positioned just so, or the object is static, placed on a table somewhere in the shot. If it’s a real object shot in the original then it has permanence – generic virtual objects can easily be substituted, via digitally editing.
The bidding would occur by such time so that the exchange of moneys and the digital images could be done before the production of the scene. The scene in fact could be shot far in advance with the virtual soda can replaced by the virtual branded can from whomever bids the highest for certain airings of that show, or by region --- hot cocoa in the winter up north --- cold beer in the south in the summer.

This is another “schema” of the dynamic (changing) information indicating usage vs. demographic vs. location vs. season – which is linked relationally to the static information above by the Primary Key:

Primary Key:
Primary Key: XYZ.9.1234.3.5

Location of Broadcast: Northeast

Timeframe of Broadcast: Winter

Demographic: Females Age 35-55

Usage: Soda Can or Equivalent

Action: Actor takes sip with label at camera

Eyeballs: 1,000,000 (total)

A database of historic broadcasts suited to the above schema shows 250,000 females fitting the demographic for hot chocol ate beverage – so various brands of same would bid for that spot. The platform would use data about scenes, the demographics, the number of eyeballs, the time of day that scene would air, and attempt to match it with prospective advertising bidders who might “fit” the contextual and usage dynamics for product placement.

The concept caught my eye. It isn’t unlike how advertisers bid for airtime to show their commercials during high-demand shows such as the Super Bowl – but in this case, it’s micro-marketing rather than macro, efficiently creating an exchange of value for many smaller ad placements at lower prices, extracting a fee for each transaction. Bulk trades could be easily as enabled as the mini-trades, with strategic placements, etc.

Where’s the value? Imagine all the consumer products that could be placed, say 1,000,000. Now imagine all the movies and shows and episodes aired in a given year – globally, say 1,000,000. You have 1TT possible matches, 1 Trillion. Now let’s say a 10 second spot gets $1000, so you have $1BB in potential advertising placement. Let’s say this platform gets a 10% fee for matching advertising to placements – that’s $100,000,000. Not bad. Nice annuity.

The point is, using a little imagination, creativity, an initial $10M investment for piping the infrastructure of industry in a new way, one could create a new, lower friction means of conducting business, grow market share, re-invent an industry. Oh, and that $100MM per year would probably net you about $1BB in market value.


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