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Give a Push to Your Message

Apr 19, 2009  •  Post A Comment

The power of an effectively produced and well-placed television commercial has been well documented in these pages. TV is an amazing advertising tool, and it remains the best “pull” media to date.
But today there is a need to “push” your TV-like message to a mobile consumer base.
While texting is popular, it remains a print-like medium. If you try to stream ads on mobile video (a la YouTube), you risk resistance from consumers who don’t want to waste their phone battery on downloading a TV ad.
There needs to be a simple way to create a TV-like image that is easy and quick to download, and in a format that consumers will actually look forward to receiving on the go. In our search for such a mobile TV solution, we discovered a tool called VeraSprite.
We recently talked with Mark Jaffe, CEO of the company that makes VeraSprite, about how his video-like image streaming can help to quickly “push” a message to consumers.
TelevisionWeek: How can VeraSprite help a TV advertiser, used to “pulling” a buyer with TV ads, also “push” their message to a consumer base?
Mark Jaffe: VeraSprite has developed the ability to create a photorealistic moving likeness of an individual that looks and speaks as they do. VeraSprite’s technology will enable advertisers to use a video camera to create a photorealistic likeness, a VeraSprite, of a spokesperson, actor or model.
After creating their VeraSprite once, the actor need only use his or her voice thereafter to create new messages. The actor’s voice is automatically coordinated with his or her own moving image.
With VeraSprite, it will be possible for advertisers to send photorealistic messages and blogs with multiple picture and graphic backgrounds directly to opted-in consumer mobile devices. In addition, VeraSprite messages have the ability to allow consumers to use mobile coupons and advertiser promotions embedded in the VeraSprite message.
In recent years, advertisers to 12- to 34-year-olds have become increasingly frustrated by their diminishing ability to push advertising to this target audience. A recent survey by Deloitte of 8,800 consumers [in that target audience] found that 59% use their phone as an entertainment device as well as a communication device. At the same time, the study found that the same group was spending 33% less time than other generational groups watching television.
VeraSprite enables advertisers to push personal, contextualized and time-sensitive, photorealistic advertising directly to a consumer’s mobile phone. VeraSprite is a personal way to form a relationship between advertiser and consumer. It can personalize television stations, their programming and brands.
TVWeek: How could a TV station manager, in a “pull” media model, use this to “push” a promotional TV ad to their viewer base’s mobile phones?
Mr. Jaffe: For the most part, people make mental appointments with themselves to watch television programs. However, potential viewers are often distracted and forget to tune in.
Ratings suffer. VeraSprite is a compelling method of reaching those audiences through their mobile phones to remind and encourage them to tune in to a particular program.
Television stations can further relationships with local and national viewers by using VeraSprite images of their news anchors, sports reporters and weather forecasters to send audiovisual updates to mobile phones, at the same time reminding users to tune in to the station’s newscast and other programming.
TVWeek: Why is this type of message experience more effective than just texting to the consumer?
Mr. Jaffe: TV station managers need opportunities to nurture consumer relationships on a personal level. While the station’s programming content attracts interest, it is the interactivity of the audiovisual message that engages consumers and personifies the brand or programming of the station and builds loyalty. Receiving an audiovisual message on that most personal of mediums, the mobile phone, reinforces your brand-to-consumer relationship in a significant way.
VeraSprite is personal, VeraSprite is contextual and VeraSprite engages person-to-person. If you want to form a meaningful relationship with your viewers, it has to be on a human level and it has to be one-on-one.
People do not form relationships with companies or programs or channels. People form relationships with people. VeraSprite is a very personal way to form that relationship and to personalize your station, your programming and your brand.
TVWeek: How could this be used for contests or creative promotion?
Mr. Jaffe: Every VeraSprite has the ability to create a call to action. VeraSprite messages allow consumers to use mobile coupons with PLU codes directly from the VeraSprite message.
Advertisers with contests or promotions can immediately direct consumers to respond straight from the message with one click.
Imagine the possibilities when you truly engage the consumer and then give them the ability to immediately respond to that engagement.
TVWeek: Is there any consumer “blowback” resistance to using this?
Mr. Jaffe: Consumers do not like receiving spam messages on their mobile phones. That is why VeraSprite will only allow our technology to be utilized on fully opted-in mobile lists. We believe that a VeraSprite message will create such interest that consumers will forward it on to friends. If their friends opt in to receive messages, they now can be legitimately added to your mobile opt-in list, and the size of your list increases.
TVWeek: When are you launching this service?
Mr. Jaffe: VeraSprite is planned to launch in mid-spring.
Marketers looking for a way to turbocharge their current TV campaign, or TV stations that want to create a live mobile relationship with their audience, should consider this type of mobile TV model. This could be a breakthrough method to reaching the “unreachable” TV viewer with sight, sound, motion and emotion.
And that is close enough to count as a true TV experience.
Adam Armbruster is a senior partner with Red Bank, N.J.-based retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co. He can be reached at adam@esacompany.com or 941-928-7192.

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