This was once the cutting edge …
A few years ago, a friend of mine was hired to make an ad for M&Ms.
The budget was a mind-shattering $3million for a 30-second spot.
It got me to thinking.
Most of an ad is the creativity. They can be simple, but they have to be clever.
And many of them can be made by anyone with a camera, a laptop and some command of graphics. If you can do laptop animations or more, all the better.
Current.com, the venture we started with Al Gore to democratize television has been pushing the idea of ‘User Generated Ads‘ for some time.
The results are pretty good. One person even sold her ad to L’Oreal for $10,000.
So, I thought, let’s take this to the next level.
We all know that VJs can carve out their piece of the pie in the world of news and docs and reality shows. But what about the world of advertising? Is this ripe?
I think so.
Suppose we had a hyper-local tv station somewhere in the world.
That station’s bread and butter is going to be local advertising – really local advertising. The kind of ads that would support a small town local paper. The dry cleaners, the local pizza place. The shoe store.
These are not the kind of people who would normally buy TV ads. Or produce them. Or even think about them.
But suppose they could?
Suppose that by using VJs to produce your local news, you drove the cost of production so low, that an ad spot went for $150, or even $50. Would this attract a local pizza parlor to advertise on local cable?
I think it might… if we made it easy enough for that guy to get his ad made and on the air.
Now, he’s not going to go to an ad agency, and no ad agency is going to talk to him. For those prices, you’re not going to get 10 minutes worth of time from a ‘creative director’.
But you might get it from a creative person who had a camera and an edit and an idea on how to make a cool 30-second spot for the pizza guy.
And the pizza guy might be pretty intriguied with the idea of his being on TV, explaining why his pizza was the best in town.
And suppose we paid the creative guy, the one with the camera who made the spot, a commission and a royalty every time the spot aired – not matter how long it aired. Actors in commercials get paid as long as the spot runs, even if it runs for years. Why don’t we do that with the creative person who made the spot?
The intial buy might be small, but if the spot keeps running, it keeps paying.
The long tail effect.
So that’s what we’re going to do.
And we have all the pieces in place.
We’re starting in DC, and we’re looking for a few good ‘creative people’.
Lemme know if you’re interested.
I think it will work.
Quite well, in fact.