Sold?: Nike’s Interactive Video Advert let’s you ‘click to buy’…but will it actually make you buy more?

February 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

It’s official. Video Adverts have only gone and got bloody well interactive…and *suck in of the breath* I’m not sure I like it…

From their perky voiceover beginnings in the 1950s to the viral extravaganzas of today, video ads have historically relied on our passivity while they hurriedly delivered their pitch. Sure, there’s the odd URL at the end of some stuff now but all we’ve really ever needed to do is sit back, enjoy the ride and unwittingly let the brand infiltrate our brains.

Enter the 21st century and suddenly video advertising just got a whole load more aggressive.

It would appear that a video ad was put in a mating pen with an internet advertising banner and after a short gestation period…lo and behold the new ad from Nike was made. This never-seen-before hybrid provides users with the innovation that is ‘click to buy’ and means that when they see something they like pop up in a little bubble by the side of Cristiano Ronaldo, they can click and go straight through to Nike’s site to snap it up.

Advertisers are crossing their fingers/rubbing their hands together in the hope that ‘hot spot’ technology like this one will keep people tuned in during ad breaks as it looks set to make its way onto our television screens by the time of the digital switchover in 2012. But will it actually work?

Sure, maybe an ad-savvy generation doesn’t need to be convinced by a story to buy into a brand anymore. We know what we like, we’re impulsive and willing to accept the harsh truth that ads are there to get us to the checkout, simple as, and this is just a handy way to get us there faster. No need to get caught up in it, just grab what you want, when you see it. Plus, once we’re on the company’s site, there’ll be way more to entice us, right?

Call me an old-fashioned shabby billboard, but I’m not so sure. Whatever happened to creatively selling a lifestyle? To me, this is like watching a movie excruciatingly littered with product placement. No one likes them. They just spoil the magic. You can barely concentrate on the bloke’s story about playing football in Ronaldo’s shirt for the pop-up bubbles.

I’m under no illusions. An advert is not ‘magic’ or a movie, but this ‘hot spot’ malarky is clinical stuff. Talk about breaking the fourth wall, it might be more upfront but distracting viewers from the story and avidly encouraging them to skip off before the ad’s through is hardly going to capture consumer imagination, is it?

Maybe the art of advertising by story-telling is dead. Maybe creatives at advertising companies are shaking in their boots right now as a generation of robotic buying machines emerges (…and, come to think of it, this ‘Sold?’ column thing’s days are numbered…). What do you think? I need a drink.

By Susan Allen