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Pepsi, MasterCard Take Aim at Podbusting

Oct 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

As commercial ratings take hold, one buzzword we’re likely to hear frequently is “podbuster.”
Like other new-media terms, podbuster can sometimes mean different things to different people.
One way of describing a podbuster is as a short commercial break sponsored by a single advertiser with something creative to say. The idea is that the viewer is hooked and the message delivered before the urge hits to press the fast-forward button on the digital video recorder.
The second way of defining a podbuster is as the promise of creative elements in the middle of commercial pods as a way to keep viewers tuned in.
The podbuster is just one of many strategies being tested by networks and advertisers to keep viewers tuned in now that the Nielsen Co. is measuring how many viewers are watching during commercials, rather than how many are watching programs.
Last week, two advertisers unveiled ad campaigns that take aim at podbusting.
MasterCard is looking to bust pods during NBC’s new series “Life.” Viewers who stay tuned during the commercial breaks will see clues about the show’s lead character, Det. Charlie Crews, who rejoined the police force after being released from prison, where he spent years serving time for a crime for which he was later exonerated.
NBC will be promoting the news that clues about Det. Crews can be found during commercial breaks on air, in print and through online advertising.
MasterCard also is the sponsor of the “Life” section on NBC.com.
“This is a great example of how we can partner with our clients to extend their marketing messages in unique ways that engage viewers throughout a commercial break,” said Jim Hoffman, senior VP of network entertainment sales at NBC Universal. “We’re very pleased to work with MasterCard to create custom content that complements their brand and utilizes our combined assets.”
“As a brand, we’re always seeking to challenge consumer viewership habits. Through the use of innovative tactics like podbusters, we see a viable opportunity to gain key learnings on the best way to retain viewers through commercial breaks,” said Michael Lao, VP of media for MasterCard Worldwide. “We’re proud to work with NBC and to be among a select group of advertisers who are ahead of the curve and at the forefront using strategically placed and exclusive content as a way to engage consumers.”
Pepsi is sponsoring an original reality micro-series on up-and-coming fashion designers that will be promoted using podbusting ads up to 2 minutes in length during breaks in MTV’s hit show “The Hills.”
The ads tout Pepsi’s sponsorship of the micro-series and urge viewers to go to a new MTV Web site called thelookrightnow.com, which is also sponsored by Pepsi.
The micro-series, called “Fashion: The Life,” features designers Danny Shaw, Steve Aoki and Luam Keflezgy as they prepare for a major trade show in Las Vegas. Mr. Shaw designs the PepsiStyle apparel line for Pepsi. The series’ 3- to 10-minute episodes will be available on the new site, as well as on MTV VOD, attached to “The Hills” on-demand content and on “The Hills’” third-season DVD.
The series also will be a feature on a remade version of MTV’s Virtual Hills virtual world. Users will be able to meet the designers and attend a virtual party at which the winning designer will be the guest of honor.

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