It seems that advertisers are trying to find more creative ways to reach us, and discourage us from pressing the fast forward button on our DVR remotes. I was recently watching an episode of the show Revenge on HuluPlus, which does not allow users to fast forward through commercials, though they have 30-90 seconds of commercials where cable and dish networks have 2-3 minutes. Neiman Marcus and Target ran a series of advertisements that opened with the Revenge show logo, with a different color scheme that fit the theme of their ad, as well as their respective brands. For example, a red ribbon was pulled through the logo, where it ultimately connected to the store names. Target’s logo is also red.
Besides the logo, the ads incorporated the style of the show, including mystery and intrigue, fashion, and social gatherings. It was sort of like a mini novella or soap opera; using the characters from the show, a distinct plot line was weaved together, while showcasing different pieces of merchandise from Target and Neiman Marcus. Each commercial offered only a tidbit, building to the final commercial of the night, though even that ended in suspense.
They did such a fine job of blurring the line between content and advertisement that I wouldn’t have fast forwarded past the commercial had I been able to. Even after realizing that it was not part of the show, and that the transition was cued by the color differences in the logo, I continued watching, eager to see how it played out.
I vaguely remember Sprint employing a similar tactic during a few Desperate Housewife episodes, though I have to say, Neiman Marcus and Target seem to be doing a better job appealing to their audience. Furthermore, the affordable but still sufficiently trendy Target and the pricey, upscale Neiman Marcus, were smart to combine forces. Together, these brands offer a range of style and price, appealing to numerous consumers as well as potentially attracting new ones to either side. The advertisement also demonstrates that they know their audience; the appeals made, via the soap operaesque quality to the advertisement and usage of actual show characters, makes this as tailored an ad as I’ve ever seen. While I tend to view most advertising as an annoyance, with the occasional amusing tidbit, I have to appreciate the creativity at work here.