Who said the banner ad was dead?
In the second quarter, Hulu will start placing static banner ads on a portion of the screen when people press pause while watching certain shows and videos on its ad-supported service. The ads will appear five seconds after a viewer pauses a video, in case a person paused simply to rewind or fast-forward. And the ad will only appear on a portion of the screen with a semi-transparent overlay so that people can still see the content that they had paused and are less startled by the ad’s appearance.
Charmin and Coca-Cola will be the first two brands to test Hulu’s pause ad format with campaigns set to start running in Q2. To what extent other brands will follow suit is something of an open question given agency execs’ concerns about the value of the ad format.
Hulu is trying to reduce its reliance on interruptive commercial breaks to generate ad revenue. The streaming video service is aiming for 50 percent of its ad revenue to come from “non-disruptive” ad formats, like show sponsorships, within the next three years, according to Jeremy Helfand, vp and head of ad platforms at Hulu.
Advertisers are interested in Hulu because it’s a platform where people are watching high-quality videos, making it natural place for brands’ high-quality video ads. That the pause ads are not videos but static images “is kind of a turn-off,” said Kristin Scheve, svp of media at Digitas.
“I wouldn’t expect this would be a brand-building kind of execution. The Charmin and Coca-Cola examples might prove that assumption wrong, but I don’t think banners generally have as much impact as video,” said Scott Daly, evp of integrated media at 360i.