Carat Puts New Focus on ITV Ads

Aug 8, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Media agency Carat is laying the groundwork for a series of consumer focus groups on interactive television it will conduct in September. The goal of the groups will be to distinguish what consumers actually want from an interactive ad versus what the industry thinks they want.

The focus groups were born out of Carat’s interactive think tank, known as the Carat Exchange and led by Carat Digital Executive VP Mitch Oscar, who heads the agency’s new media efforts. The Carat Exchange is made up of advertisers, programmers, researchers and interactive TV technologists.

Mr. Oscar surveyed the group late last year on what kinds of interactivity the members think work best. The findings, released in June, will serve as the outline for the focus groups.

Carat will turn to Exchange members emuse and Ensequence, which make software to develop ITV ads, to create dummy ITV spots for Carat advertisers, including Hyundai, Norelco and Chase. Navic Networks will also help develop the creative. Carat will then present the ads to the focus groups and ask for feedback.

The groups will be tasked to determine how consumers react to an interactive ad, Mr. Oscar said. “Do they want to see a button that says, ‘For more information click here’? We will try to test some of those things,” he said.

The industry questionnaire revealed certain key points that will be used to build questions for the consumer groups. For instance, most respondents favored a visual representation rather than a text overlay for the prompt. They also said they need promotional announcements explaining how interactive ads work and think it would be valuable to offer viewers the chance to select the next commercial from a group of categories.

The industry feedback is only a jumping-off point for the consumer groups, Mr. Oscar said: “If the industry doesn’t even agree, that’s why it’s so important to find out what consumers think.”

Carat plans to enlist cable operators, ESPN and research firm erinMedia to help interpret the results.