Earlier this week, Delta Airlines announced plans that will turn its boarding passes into advertising opportunities, or billboards, hawking destination-specific businesses and products. An Omaha-based startup, Sojern, is behind this advertising offer, which is going to be adopted by four airlines in addition to Delta: American, Continental, United and US Airways. Given that airlines are in such a desperate position, mostly because of their incompetency, they are ready to try anything, however strange it might seem.
Now there is word that IDT Corp., a calling-card company, is going to start using advertising messages on its pre-paid calling cards. Using technology from in-call advertising startup VoodooVox, IDT will hawk marketing and advertising messages that are matched to a caller’s demographic profile. For instance, if someone was calling the Dominican Republic, an ad for an airline would be piped in while the caller is waiting for his call to connect. IDT sells about 17.5 million pre-paid calling cards every month.
Given the razor-thin margins in the long-distance business, I am not surprised IDT is going down this path, but I wonder if they will use some of the fat CPMs from advertising to offer cheaper or near-free long-distance calls. Now that would be cool, and perhaps something to which an audience — who might get annoyed by ads intruding their calls — would be somewhat receptive.
These two examples make me ask the question: Are we getting so saturated with ads that they will just become meaningless and lose their entire effectiveness?
16 thoughts on “These Ads Are Just About Everywhere”
Heads up — The ‘There’ in your title should be ‘Their’.
The title makes no sense: “There Ads Are Just About Everywhere”.
Do you mean Their Ads… or The Ads… or There Are Ads…. ?
“Their Ads Are Just About Everywhere”
“There Are Ads Just About Everywhere”
Om – this has already happened. Its not a dirty secret in the ad business that its getting increasingly difficult to reach people due to the noise. As someone who lives his entire life on the Internet, I can tell you quite honestly that I click on an ad banner maybe once every 2 months or so. And that’s usually because its an eye-catching design and I’m hoping to see some fancy Flash work on the post-click splash page.
Far more effective is solid use of direct marketing and PR, and in a certain sense – sponsorships. Like what BMW is doing with TedTalks on the Miro player. There are no other ads except for a BMW brand ad on the tail of the videos.
CDW did something, albeit extremely annoyingly, with some recent tech infrastructure videos of conference presentations I was looking at. It was the same ad, over and over again, forced to watch before each video. And there were over 30 videos.
Anyway, the answer is less ads, more targeting, and smarter integration. Its more of a content issue than a technology issue. Back in the 1990s when I owned an interactive agency, this was exactly the kind of stuff I most enjoyed working on – translating the needs of a brand to their target audience and marrying it with existing content in a non-intrusive but value-add manner. Its a challenge, but if you pull it off well, the rewards are big both to consumers and marketers.
John S, spellchecker and DEC:
That’s been fixed; apologies for the confusion.
@All sorry for screwing up the headline. I thought I wrote – These Ads Are Just About Everywhere. And then fell asleep – sorry about that. What an idiot i turned out to be – I should have read that. Bah! Sorry guys and thanks for pointing out the error.
I have to agree with the others, we’re already there. About the only ads that has caught my eye (in any medium) have been the dual position ads Apple ran and I probably noticed them only after they got some PR.
I agree with you PXLated. I wonder what we should do – maybe sponsored posts ala TechMeme? any thoughts on this guys?
Voodoovox paid IDT $2 million last year for these ads. Go to question ‘Can you point at a couple of successful case studies where you have been involved?’ on this link
there are certain instances in a phone call where an ad can be gracefully accommodated. eg. insert the audio ad instead of the ringing sound.
Isn’t just about every company in the Valley touting their “free” product as supported by ads? Consumers are increasingly tuning out advertising (TiVO anyone?). I personally can’t remember the last time I really looked at an online ad.
There was also an article in the NY Times recently on how international audiences don’t recieve any ads as they are irrelevant (want to buy a mortgage in Saudi Arabia?
How about some real companies with a real business model based on adding value vs. annoying the general public.
“…the razor-thin margins in the long-distance business…”
Do you realize what the unused rate of minutes (and therefore $$$) is on pre-paid cards? I’m thinking some wild number between 7 and 12.5 percent. It’s some serious coin ….
Are you serious? Wow…. that is an eye opener
Scott Hamilton here. Pres/CEO of VoodooVox.
The goal for all advertising is to be relevant and informative. Moreover, there must be some level of fair trade associated with it; ie, one gets a better or free product/service because of ad support.
In the case of In-Call Media, which my company’s area, we subsidize the operations of some telco apps and make others better. For example, in the case which Om references, letting a caller know an airline has introduced a new flight to their home country from their current city is information, not advertising. Similarly, when a person is on-hold listening to a looped message about the importance of their call to the entity ignoring them, giving the caller the option of hearing news headline, sports, or entertainment gossip, etc, improves the hold experience. In both cases I would argue the caller’s experienced is improved through In-Call Media.
In the case of voice apis, the question is really how one a) defines and api, and b) intends to monetize it.
Our approach, MyVox, simply gives developers the ability to capture voice input through the phone and mash it up however they see fit. It’s a free service to developers, and in return we serve ads into the call stream. We have hundreds of developers generating hundreds of call each daily. Still puny call volume, but the service has been deployed for fewer than 3 months and more developers come on line daily with their clever phone app, and soon someone will come up with something many folks won’t be able to do without.
Telephony and advertising are both scale businesses. If one intends to make money being a telco, you better be selling 10s of millions of minutes daily. Similar volume is needed in advertising. We’re simply combining the two sectors, having deplyed an audio ad serving platform in to hundreds of telco “publishers” generating hundreds of millions of calls on a monthly basis.
As the marginal cost of providing telephony continues to approach zero, new revenue models are becoming available to an industry that has really only had a metered usage model. Ad support is viable option for many telco services today, and I believe ultimately most of the telco prods/svcs we’re currently paying for can be covered by an opt-in advertising experience.
@whartonfamily: thanks very much for the heads up on the Saudi’s view toward advertising. We’ll calibrate our international expansion plans accordingly.
In a world where everything’s free, how else is anything but advertising going to pay the bills? Take a look at the movie Idiocracy for what a truly advertising-saturated world looks like.
I don’t find the idea of ads on (or around) my boarding pass all that offensive, particularly if it’s, say, a coupon for a place behind security or at my destination where I can save some money, or rather spend a little less.
No doubt, advertising is simply going to have to be smarter.
Seems like a great idea for the airlines to me. Anything that helps them make a buck so they don’t charge us a buck.