Industry view: What is the future of interactive TV advertising?

Keith Welling, Matt Pye, Jean-Paul Edwards and Lindsey Clay
Keith Welling, Matt Pye, Jean-Paul Edwards and Lindsey Clay

Is the new wave of 'interactive' TV advertising, as seen by Mercedes and Xbox's recent attempts to harness Twitter and Facebook, adding genuine value to brands? Marketing asked industry experts where the future of interactive television advertising lies.

Interactive television advertising used to be all about the "wonders" of the red button, but is increasingly coming to take the form of integration with social media channels.

Xbox and Mercedes are two of the latest brands to experiment with interactive TV advertising, the former through inserting Facebook information into a live ad and the latter by using Twitter to decide the outcome of its campaign.

Do such experiments have enough appeal to become the norm or are there more changes to come? Marketing asked industry experts where the future of interactive television advertising lies.

Keith Welling, head of broadcast activation, UM LondonKeith Welling, head of broadcast activation, UM London

With UK homes now averaging four networked devices, it’s clear that digital convergence is well and truly here. Viewers now expect to be able to connect with content, both programming and advertising, and this presents a fantastic opportunity for advertisers to produce campaigns that resonate with consumers.

Some have questioned whether some of the recent high profile interactive activations are just gimmicks. Having witnessed the results that come from new developments such as live ads and Shazam, I know the answer is overwhelmingly no. True, there will be advertisers that get it wrong in the rush to be seen as innovative, but get it right and the benefits of interacting with your consumers will pay dividends.

I believe the future of interactive TV advertising will be an enhancement of the work that the pioneers are putting together right now. Expect to see social media feeds within live ads becoming commonplace, a plethora of second screen companion apps and connected TVs ushering in new rich media ad formats.

The development that excites me most is biometric control. Voice, motion and face recognition opens a myriad of possibilities from simply saying "buy" to a full body scan for a virtual make over. Kinect technology has already revolutionised gaming and it’s now being used for advertising. Samsung are employing similar technology within their new Smart TVs and expect others to follow suit.

The days of red button are now a distant memory and I fear soon the old remote will suffer a similar fate.

Matt Pye, managing director, Cheil UKMatt Pye, managing director, Cheil UK

When I was an account director on Ford – around 2003 – we did one of the first "interactive" TV spots for the Focus C-Max. In those days, interactive meant press a red button wait a while, wait a bit longer and eventually you get the chance to see a bit of extra footage of the TV spot and have a very pedestrian journey around an online brochure. Cutting edge stuff – well at the time, it was.

Obviously we’ve moved on since then. Second screen gives a brand a real opportunity to connect channels to the masses on a deeper, richer level.

But success depends on whether people get rewarded for that interaction and this is where Halo 4 wins, Mercedes less so. Halo 4 has tapped into the insight that gamers live on second screens and shape their world around them; for them, a potential roll call on one of the most famous games in history means a lifetime of bragging rights and is reward enough.

I’m less convinced by Mercedes. I’m not sure shaping the end of a TV spot via Twitter will be more interesting than watching the Twitter chat on Rylan Clark’s destiny [on 'The X Factor']. Time will tell, but my money’s on the "what’s in it for me" instinct winning out over Mercedes' novelty factor when it comes to driving engagement in multiscreen living rooms.

Jean-Paul Edwards, head of futures, Manning Gottleib OMDJean-Paul Edwards, head of futures, Manning Gottleib OMD

The various connected technologies and behaviours are all approaching mass adoption.  We are learning from consumers what they actually want from a more connected TV experience and advertisers have a huge role to play in delivering it. Simply people welcome anything that improves their TV experience.

That means very different things depending on the context of consumption. In a game show it is the ability to play along for cash or kudos, in a documentary supplementary content is key. We will need to decide when it is appropriate for content to synch (via another device) or swim (across the bottom of the main screen).

Sky and Virgin Media are both launching addressable TV advertising products in the next year. We are moving towards a world in which specific messages can be sent to specific devices in many original formats.

Someday soon we may see our TV advertising powered by anything from our social profiles identifying patterns in our friends’ purchase patterns, to the proverbial connected fridge monitoring consumption, or the biometric wristband teasing us into healthier behaviours based on our individual needs.

Lindsey Clay, managing director, ThinkboxLindsey Clay, managing director, Thinkbox

TV is a fundamentally social activity; we prefer to watch with other people and share the experience. But the individual ways in which we choose to interact with TV are more personal and private. Three people watching the same programme from the same sofa could want entirely different interactive experiences. My daughter may want to clap along to 'The X Factor' via the app, while I may prefer to rant about it on Twitter.

Having both on the screen that’s also showing the programme just wouldn’t work. That is one reason why it is more likely that the future of interacting with TV will live on a second screen, and even a third; it is far more personal and convenient. Advertisers like Mercedes and Paddy Power who are experimenting with multi-screen interactivity are meeting people’s expectations.

We know from our Screen Life research that people actively want to chat, play, discover, and buy in real time alongside the TV they watch because it adds to their enjoyment and brings them closer to the content. Advertisers realise this and so multi-screen innovations will only gather pace. But not everyone is doing it yet, most still enjoy TV the way they always have.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message