Just last year marketing agencies were bemoaning the advent of the TiVo and similar digital video recorders (DVRs) that allow viewers to fast forward through commercials. A few of the smarter marketing folks, however, are embracing it. San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners was hired by Audi at the end of 2006 and the first campaign produced by the ad house has already hit the airwaves. Two of the ads, named 0.2 Seconds and Moment, feature 0.2 seconds worth of images flashed on the screen in a rapid fashion. It almost looks like subliminal messaging, but it’s too noticeable. In fact, Venables Bell & Partners want you to rewind your DVR after the commercial and plays and go through it frame by frame to see those images. It’s an interesting idea, if only because this is the first time anyone’s thought of engaging a TV viewer through the medium of a DVR. We would quickly go back to skipping commercials if our favorite shows were surrounded by ads like this.
Since these are the first commercials of their kind, Venables Bell & Partners has also produced a How-To video for Audi, which shows your average couple on a catch experiencing the commercials for the first time and using their DVR’s remote. Wow, we think everyone’s aware how to rewind and use frame-by-frame on their DVR.
Of course, Audi’s agency also produced a traditional commercial for the A4 sedan so that the throngs of DVR-less TV watchers out there have something to enjoy, as well. It’s a playful ad that takes a jab at Lexus and its “self-parking” system in the LS.