Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowboarding Viking?

According to Yahoo News, NBC is getting tons of criticism for a misleading transition during a snowboardcross Winter Olympic competition. Anchor Bob Costas started giving commentary on an athlete's performance, when the script started transitioning into an advertisement for Dreamwork's upcoming movie, "How To Tame Your Dragon".

Which brings me to my point: as media professionals, we must be able to draw the appropriate line when it comes to inserting advertisements. Clearly, no one was expecting a 30-second full-screen ad spot in the middle of a live competition, but is this disruption of the norm okay? Should audiences expect the emergence of more abrupt ad spots? How will this affect our consumers?

First, we must consider what was at stake for each party involved. Dreamworks got their message across regardless of what the audience thought-- we must thus focus on NBC. Yes, they got lots of money for running the ad, but why would they choose to run it as a digression of commentary on an athlete's performance?

On one hand, this publicity stunt seemed to anger more people than it did intrigue or convince them to come see the new movie. To put it simply, the timing was off: people who tune in to watch the Olympics expect to see snowboarders for most of the time, and expect advertisements for about 5-10 minutes when they hear the appropriate queues; the placing seemed unnecessary and insensitive to athletes and audiences. Even if everyone would have loved it, would they have reached their target audience?

On the other hand, can the element of surprise work just as well as say, the element of mystery as done with viral advertisements? Will more people now want to go see the movie? Will other companies try their own hand at running full-length ads during news/commentary?

Lastly, and most intriguingly: is anyone incredibly surprised that Dreamworks' creative team was able to magically connect a movie that is clearly set in the middle ages and is about dragons to an Olympic snowboarding competition? Major props!

Nikki P

Snowboarding Viking?

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