Pre-roll ads may not generally spark excitement in the minds of advertisers, but if they can put product in the hands of customers, that tune could change. According to AdAge, video network Blip.tv has begun rolling out video pre-roll ads that download games directly to viewers’ Xbox consoles. The effort may not be scalable, but it could be spark the sort of integrated digital video ads that really appeal to brands. 

Pre-roll ads often resemble cut down versions of traditional TV ads, but Blip’s new spots actually connect viewers to Electronic Arts’ new game NCAA Football 11. The video network’s developers worked with Wieden & Kennedy, EA’s ad agency, to create the new format.

According to AdAge:

“If you have a title that’s not tracking four weeks from release,
chances are you will not have a successful week one,” said Michael
Diccicco, media supervisor in the gaming category for Wieden &
Kennedy. “With video games in general, the best way to sell it is to
get the consumers’ hands on it. We’re asking them to spend $60 so [sic] it
helps if you can get them so play time on it.”

This is something that many brands are interested in. URLs, mobile ads and QR codes may connect readers to the web, but getting users to put their hands on new products is a big step for digital advertising. And that’s what Blip’s new feature does.

According to AdAge:

“Blip was trying to help Wieden figure out how to increase pre-orders by
driving demos before the game was released. Retailers take their cues
from the strength of those orders, which can represent 10% of the total
sales of the title.

“To accomplish this, Wieden wanted to reach people who either own an
Xbox 360 or appeared to be shopping for a console or games. The
audience had already self-selected itself as interested in games,
having sought out Blip.tv’s gaming shows, such as “Machinima Top
Gaming,” “Red vs. Blue,” or “Next Gen Tactics,” and data exchange Blue
Kai helped them isolate owners of Xboxes, using both purchase data from
third parties such as Data Logic and shopping data e-commerce sites
themselves.”

Gaming may be an easier proposition for multimedia connectivity, but it will be interesting to see if other publishers start enabling these kinds of spots. The first hurdle will be platform contraints. But another issue is how much effort something like this could require for both publishers and brands on a case by case basis. Tools like this could be expensive to create. And a link to download on XBox is not something that can translate to the next brand who comes looking for some similar, tailor made solution.

That said, it could be appealing for many brands. User drop off between seeing a brand and actually getting to a store or website to purchase is more than any company would like. The easier it is for consumers to get prodcuts into their hands, the easier it will be for companies to make those all important sales.

Image: AdAge