Joel Riggs teaches Aikido, plays piano, enjoyed California for 22 years ('86 - '08), now enjoys Georgia, and reads voraciously.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Active Marketing vs. Passive Ads

Been thinking a lot about advertising lately.

Rather than putting a static ad (or fifty) in front of a viewer, what if a website offered a viewer the option to answer three questions about the thing being advertised, and then be presented with all the content they are seeking AD-FREE? That way, the viewer wins because they see a clear tit-for-tat that rewards the time they invest in answering the advertiser's questions, and the advertiser wins because they get to actively engage with the viewers, burning their message into the viewer's brain far more effectively.

Example: Instead of an ad for Coca-Cola, let a 'locked garden gate' webpage greet the user. In order to open the gate and proceed inside, the viewer would have to answer questions like these made-up ones:

1. What is the name of Coca-Cola's Lemon/Lime drink?
A. Mountain Dew
B. Squirt
C. Sprite
D. 7-Up

2. In 1894, what was the ingredient that gave Coca-Cola its name?
A. Cocaine
B. Coca leaves
C. Cola root
D. Chocolate

3. How many calories does a 20-oz Diet Coke have?
A. 5
B. 2
C. 10
D. 1

A detail: If a viewer misses an answer, that answer is eliminated and they have to choose again. If they miss a time or two, then a confirming question is asked that reinforces the learning, and has the effect of requiring a correct answer before admitting the viewer.

With a system like this, a viewer might spend 30 seconds researching and answering the questions, and then be rewarded with unfettered access to the site's content. The advertiser then knows that the viewer has digested and incorporated the message they were trying to send.

(Essay or written answer questions would be more difficult to review and grade, perhaps impossible, but they would provide an even deeper level of inculcation than mere multiple choice questions.
As a viewer, I would certainly go for that. Would you?

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