CAPTCHA Advertising and Error Message Marketing: Obtrusive or Creative?
I just realized something: the digital world is becoming more and more streamlined every day. It’s no longer just the discombobulated mish-mash of banner advertisements and “hey-look-at-this” pop-ups that it used to be. It’s getting more personal and more direct—the ads are, anyway.
We’re approaching a new frontier of creative advertisements, videos, and online services. Ads are starting to seem less obtrusive and more palatable. Sure, we still have to put up with the consistently annoying pop-ups and banners that have dominated the landscape for over a decade and a half, but variations to this approach are beginning to surface—and I say that they’re more than welcome to join the race for consumer attention.
I read an article recently that examined some of the emerging trends in digital advertising. The article—available at Mashable—outlined several new and interesting ad types: everything from the humorous Old Spice videos to the social gaming advertising now taking place across mobile apps like Foursquare. There were, however, a couple of particularly notable standouts that are worth taking a closer look at, if only out of appreciation for their originality.
Apparently, ads are starting to show up in some very interesting places on the net—in CAPTCHA tests, for example. You know the tests I’m talking about. They pop up from time to time when you’re attempting to log on to a site whose server needs you to prove that you’re human and not a piece of software. You’re shown one or two distorted words inside a small box on your screen and asked to physically type the words out. This is typically done for security purposes, and although having to complete several of these tests in a given day can be tedious, it’s now generally accepted as being part of the modern browsing experience.
Well, the good folks at Solve Media have crafted an online ad service for companies that wish to turn CAPTCHA to their advantage, promotionally speaking. Through the service, companies can purchase the right to have their brand name or slogan used as the actual typed portion of a CAPTCHA test, according to the article—click here for a brief video description of Solve Media’s method.
Error Message Advertising
Error messages also happen to be one of the more frequent and bothersome roadblocks on the information superhighway these days. And guess what: they’ve become ad space too! Yes, companies are now starting to pay for the right to run their ads on error message pages. BrandFreak.com refers to this trend as “404 Marketing.”
Burger King actually tried it out earlier this year. They entered a deal with Digg to run ads on the news website’s error pages. Whenever users would type in invalid search terms, the resulting error pages displayed a custom message from the fast food chain: “Looks like your search had a typo. Blame it on your tiny hands. The beefy $1 Burger King Double Cheeseburger gives tiny hands some trouble, too.” A hyperlink to the restaurant’s Tiny Hands commercial was included on the pages as well.
Of course every company and advertising agency wants a campaign to go “viral,” but guess what—there are other ways to approach requisite brand expansion. Think outside the box. Catch folks offguard. Be different—it works.
Are there any other online ad innovations you’ve heard of lately? Do you have any creative ideas for digital ads in the near future?