Watching Ads: Job and Pastime

Given how we’re all cramming as much ad-supported media through our skulls as we possibly can these days, you’d think the one thing we need a break from is advertising. Yet sheep that we are, we can’t get enough of it. Consider this first story from ABC7.com:

When signing up for Brightspot, users fill out a personal profile and
receive ads targeted to their interests. Brightspot co-founder Aaron
Martins calls it a whole new way for people to interact with
commercials… Brightspot pays users from 25-to-50-cents for watching and evaluating
ads. The money can be applied for subscriptions to companies like
Napster or Gamefly.

I’ve been on Brightspot for awhile now, and while the publishing partners haven’t hooked me in yet, it’s easy to see how people will get sucked in. You have to answer a few survey questions after each ad, which then disappear if you wait too long, so you can’t click the ads and take a leisurely bathroom break.

Then there’s this story from The New York Times:

For example, veryfunnyads.com,
a broadband Web site operated by the TBS cable network, has delivered
more than 63 million video clip views since its introduction last
August…

The USA Network unit of NBC Universal, part of General Electric,
also intends to climb aboard the pitch wagon celebrating advertising as
entertainment with an online effort centered on brand-centric content.

Plans
call for a Web site next year that would include commercials and movie
trailers as well as features like social networking and tools that
would let visitors make ads of their own. The site is tentatively named
didja.com, as in “Didja see that?”

“It’s
all about relevance,” said Chris McCumber, senior vice president for
marketing and brand strategy at USA Network. “Consumers want to be
entertained on their own time, on their own terms.”

The Times gets into the irony of these sites blossoming just as digital video recorders give us more power to skip the ads. Yet now you have these sites that are all about viewing ads, either for rewards or entertainment.

I’m just waiting for the brilliant minds that convince us to pay to watch ads.

Oh wait – from our attention spans to the money the ads help make us spend, we already do in full.