Clover’s Week: Interactive advertising finally on target

Julian Clover sees the ease of targeted advertising as the viewer not having to do anything.

Targeted advertising might about to take hold in the UK. We’ve already had a few green shoots and it shouldn’t be forgotten that Virgin Media has been running dynamic advertising since November 2009, largely through its on demand platform.

Sky’s much-anticipated announcement, made during its latest financial statements, was very carefully worded. CFO Andrew Griffith giving the example of a bank advertising an investment account to its high-end customers and a current account to those at the other end of the scale.

So we’re not likely to see two different brands advertising – though the likes of Unilever or Proctor and Gamble might consider it – more likely that two (or more) varying products or services will be seen. There are of course many possibilities, the supermarket special offer that only runs across the north or the magazine launch that is testing in the east.

Sky is also suggesting that it may open up the possibility for more localized advertising than has previously been possible.

Might it also work for a broadcaster such as Channel 4 or Five, which runs the same programmes but has its own advertising windows, in the process saving a fortune in advertising capacity.

Then there is the BBC and its own multitude of regional news variants. There are many possibilities.

Are there data protection issues? Possibly, but that would surely only apply if adverts were based on information gained from a particular household, and all pay-TV operators are mindful of this.

But have we been here before? The advertising industry is so often slow to grasp the opportunities that are presented before it. Red Button, Green Button, Polkadot Button, they have all been launched with a fanfare, but other than the inevitable case studies such formats remain far from mainstream.

Maybe its because previously the actions have required the viewer to do something, even if it is just press a button, with targeted advertising, they won’t even know.