June 18th, 2008

SplashCast makes advertising more immersive, hints of Blade Runner and Minority Report

Having been a marketing guy for most of my career, I’ve always been struck by those movie scenes inspired by Philip K. Dick‘s somewhat nightmarish vision of the future. Like the scenes from Blade Runner (“Let’s go to the Colony!”) and Minority Report (“Hello Mr. Yakamoto! And welcome back to the GAP!”) where the advertising has moved from today’s static format to a more immersive and inclusive medium.

Sure, kind of creepy. But at the same time, in a reckless optimist kind of way, it’s that same type of personalization and interactivity that might actually make advertising relevant—instead of just interruptive.

And while the retinal scans and 3D environments may be a ways off, Portland-based SplashCast could be ushering in a new feature that helps advertising technology take a step in that direction. Case in point: its new SplashCast HotSpot.

So what is it? Well, in simple terms, the SplashCast HotSpot is an interactive product placement. Taking the familiar concept of product placement and extending it to a more interactive and informational component of video.

SplashCast Hot Spot Editor

Huh? Okay, let’s step back.

So, let’s say that you’re watching a video of me writing my latest post on Silicon Florist, trusty MacBook Pro at my side. (Exciting! You need to get out more, my friend.) As the camera pans over the Mac, it’s highlighted. A click on the highlighted area gives you information on the specs and lets you know where you can buy one. Pan by a half-eaten slice of Hot Lips Pizza on my desk, it highlights, and you have the opportunity to order your own slice for delivery. Pan to the screen where you see me working in WordPress. It gets highlighted, and from there you can get information or you could start your own blog on WordPress.com.

Miss the chance to click on one of the highlights? No worries. The links appear on a toolbar at the top of the video, allowing you to access them at any time.

You get the idea. It’s like “choose your own adventure” with product placement. Or, to put it another way, it’s hyperlinking video in the same way we’ve been hyperlinking text and images for years.

When I put it that way, it gets a lot less creepy, hunh?

And while the applications I’ve proposed are fairly remedial—and for the most part trivial—I’m a big believer in people smarter than me. I know someone will come up with some wacky ways to use this new platform for hyperlinking video elements.

Maybe it will be a new way to convey information in video format. Maybe it will be a new way of documenting and tracking video. Maybe it will be a new means of educating folks.

I can’t wait to see how people incorporate this.

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5 Responses to “SplashCast makes advertising more immersive, hints of Blade Runner and Minority Report”

  1. Mike Berkley says:

    Rick — thanks for the write up! I love how you presented this.

    There is some freaky stuff going on with consumer targeting right now, a la Minority Report. Thankfully, we’re not in that business. We are in the opt-in ad business.


  2. Mike.Mathews says:

    Interesting report. Unfortunately, Splashcast seems to be mired in an old paradigm of advertising grafted onto social networks. Granted, it’s well done, but it’s still some corporation pushing a message.

    The real power will come when Splashcast shifts HotSpot to a consumer pull model; think of something more along the lines of affiliate ads. Instead of corporations pushing the message, consumers HotSpot the items in their videos and those recommendations are passed along. Why would consumers HotSpot their videos? Because they would be paid by the CTR and continue to be paid on the spread. The consumers target themselves.

    Corporations pushing their message is the same old thing, even in a new format like SplashCast. Having consumers spread the message is the word-of-mouth holy grail.

    SplashCast has a start, but it really only goes halfway and needs to jump up to the next level of marketing power.

  3. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Mike.Mathews Great point. If the functionality is accessible to the typical user base, I’m thinking about trying something a little more informational with this format, but that’s not even getting close to what you’re proposing.

    You’re absolutely right. If you (or anyone) could come to what I’ve built and add your own hotspots? Now you’re talking.

  4. Mike Berkley says:

    @Mike.Mathews — thanks for your thoughts on this. I do like the idea very much. One of the major challenges when working with large media companies and brands in a social media context is fear of “lack of control”. Turning over hotspotting of brand content to consumers is a very big step, and one that will take time before being accepted by most marketers.

  5. A round of applause for your blog.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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