Will Addressable Advertising Make TV Ads Better… Or More Like The Web?

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I have a stack of articles to read. They all sit in a black folder that resides in my backpack. When I travel – or more accurately, during take-off and landing – I do everything I can to tear through them. One such article is pretty old. It’s called, Addressable Advertising Gets Closer To Reality, and it’s from a BrandWeek article on May 5th, 2008.

Addressable advertising (according to the news item) is all about being able to target different TV ads to different people based on their household. Essentially, two different people can be watching the same episode of Desperate Housewives but get different ads based off of where they live and what the advertiser knows about the people in that household.

Granted, addressable advertising doesn’t sound as powerful as contextual advertising, but by the sounds of this news item, it’s something the industry feels might solve some of its recent woes.

"The issue is an especially pressing one since marketers are increasingly frustrated by TV’s waning influence. But the research supporting addressable advertising is encouraging. Results released in April by Comcast Spotlight and Starcom MediaVest Group‘s (SMG) test market in Huntsville, Ala., with TV spots from General Motors, Discover Card, Procter & Gamble and others found that homes receiving addressable advertising tuned away from those ads 38% less than those without it."

A company I have been following for quite some time, Spot Runner, has been in this game for some time:

"In the meantime, some advertisers are flocking to what may be the only form of national addressable advertising on the market. Spot Runner, a local television advertising firm in Los Angeles, is helping advertisers adopt addressable advertising on the local level through national buys. The company did so last year when Warner Independent Pictures released The Painted Veil. It targeted ads for the art house film to mature female viewers in the 18 specific neighborhoods where the movies were playing. Gus Warren, VP of strategic partnerships at Spot Runner, said even without set-top box capability, Spot Runner can target as few as 500 homes with the right commercial."

In the end, it’s still following along the lines of disruption and I’m getting more and more skeptical of the viability to bank on this as the future of advertising as adoption towards TiVo, PVRs and even Podcasting (or any other on-demand media) continues to grow.

So, the good news is that they know where you live and they know what you like. But, that’s also the bad news.

Don’t discount the marketing prowess of serendipity.