GLOBAL BRIEF: Lego makes US TV history through interactive ad - The unique ad enables US viewers to buy Lego using their TV, Karen Yates says

There was a time when history was made by daring deeds or colossal sacrifice, but not any more. This week it was made in the US by a bunch of disco-dancing droids. Created by the children’s games king, Lego, the droids in question made their bid for posterity by appearing in the world’s first interactive commercial.

There was a time when history was made by daring deeds or colossal

sacrifice, but not any more. This week it was made in the US by a bunch

of disco-dancing droids. Created by the children’s games king, Lego, the

droids in question made their bid for posterity by appearing in the

world’s first interactive commercial.



Many claims have been made over the years to be the first interactive

ad. However, this one appears to be different.



The 30-second commercial, created by Ammirati Puris Lintas New York,

allowed viewers to buy straight from the screen. It was also a genuine

nationwide ad, going on to cable channels and on syndication. And it

will air in the UK, Denmark, France, Portugal and Spain.



The catch was, of course, that only US-based consumers with web-enabled

TV sets and special set-top boxes were able to interact with the

commercial - about 850,000 people at most. But the way it was done

solved a problem that has dogged interactive advertisers for years.



How can viewers interact with a commercial without interrupting normal

programming? If an ad is only 30 seconds long, how can there be enough

time to fill in your name, address and credit card details before the

next commercial begins?



Imagine the furore if interactive advertisers delayed or interrupted

subsequent commercials. Or the uproar from the public if consumers had

to miss their favourite gameshow just to buy a Lego set.



Unilever tried a similar exercise in France to give away free samples

during the launch of its new in-wash tablet, Skip.



Commercials airing on the interactive satellite service, TPS, included

an icon on the screen which told viewers that if they pressed a button

on their remotes, the screen would switch to delivering information and

would allow them to request a sample.



Viewers either had to wait until the end of the break and miss some of

the programmes they were watching, or they could store this screen for

later use.



In the UK, Ford ran a similar test, using a version of its famous Steve

McQueen ad for the Puma. This included an icon on which viewers could

click to receive a brochure.



However, the Lego commercial is the first to allow consumers to buy

genuine products, and to do so without delaying other programmes. When

viewers clicked on the on-screen icon, the TV image collapsed into a

smaller screen. This was surrounded by tiles bearing instructions so

that viewers could place an order while normal programming continued and

was visible.



So, consumers in despair that interactive technology is not delivering

the advantages promised for the new millennium can now rest at peace.

Before the century is out, you can purchase a Droid Developer Kit

without even getting out of your armchair.



Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).