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Espresso of Innovation: Look At Me

By Dan West, innovations manager, Draftfcb UK
Hello and welcome to this week's Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week, may we have your attention, please.
We are flooded by messages on almost a minute-by-minute basis, so how can advertisers get people to pay attention to one brand over another, especially whenconcentration span seems to be reducing? A few companies claim to have the answer:
This week Google confirmed a patent forpay-per-gaze technology for their Google Glass product that allows businesses to understand which of their ads are being looked at. This could help optimize offline ads by applying the principles of A/B testing currently used in online mediums (e.g. ASUs and PPC).
Though direct ads through Google Glass are banned, a number of companies like CNN and Elle, arebuilding branded apps for the device (a.k.a. glassware) to get a slice of your limited attention. The challenge here is to create something engaging and useful enough to be a lifestyle companion, rather than an intrusive voice.
Speaking of which, European ad network Widespace is debutingNuance-powered voice ads. Consumers can interact with these ads by asking them plain speech questions; similar to how Siri works currently. The thinking is that people will be more open to something they can interact with in real-time and in a real way. It remains to be seen how comfortable people are talking to their computers, but ashologram receptionists androbot playmates come to market, it may be less gimmicky than it first appears.
Of course, in a softcore Clockwork Orange route, you could just force your customers to pay attention to your ads. Mindflash has announced a new technology calledFocusAssist that ensures you pay attention. It is being used for corporate training courses so that if it notices that you have stopped paying attention the content is paused. I’d advise against this in standard advertising as it would more than likely lead to negative brand perception, but the innovation can have positive applications. The Galaxy S4 uses a similar technology,Smart Pause, which bookmarks your place on videos you’re watching when you look away or nod off.
For years marketers have been warned about fractured attention, but while R&D works on the perfect solution, advertising attention deficit can be minimized. Ways this can be done are to make the advertising useful, entertaining, participatory and above all relevant. In other words we need to put creativity at the forefront. And if that all fails we can always start handing out packets ofchewing gum.