I was talking with a friend earlier this week about good ads. In particular, we were reminiscing about the original Coors Lite ad with the twins. The one with the lyrics “I… love… playing two-hand touch, eating way too much, rooting for my team…” It was a really good ad. I’d love to see it again. And I can’t. It’s not available from the Coors website. It might be available from adcritic.com, but I’m not going to subscribe for a single ad. It might be available on a download site someplace, but it’s too annoying to try to find content on those sites. Plus, I’d actually be willing to pay for this.
So I speculated that there might be a business model lurking here. Selling video downloads of ads piecemeal for $1 or $2 each. I can think of at least 5 or 10 ads off the top of my head that I’d pay for (the Barbie Nissan ad, the Coors Lite ad mentioned, the Coors Lite Wingman ad, not to mention classics like the “Where’s the Beef?” ad or “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”) (and I’ve never seen the 1984 Macintosh ad – I’d pay even more for that) (and I’m sure more would occur to me as I saw what was available).
If I actually were going to do this, I’d pitch it first to Apple. Tie it into iTunes, since they already have demonstrated they can handle similar downloads and payments in a scalable fashion. Launch it with the video iPod to have some fun content available to help promote video content. And of course, it would also be available to dorks like me for download onto our desktops.
If that didn’t pan out, I’d go after cell phone providers. They’re looking for ways to promote video content to encourage people to buy higher bandwidth (and higher priced) phones. They also have demonstrated they can handle small payments. And given that people are happily willing to pay $1 for a ringtone (in fact, I read that ringtone sale revenues exceed those of CD singles now (this story alludes to it)), $1 for a well-executed 30 second movie sounds reasonable. You’d have to do some work with compression for download purposes, but it would be reasonably synergistic.
Of course, if that were all there were to it, I’d be off finding VC funding right now. Unfortunately, the issue of licensing all the different ads pretty much dooms this business model. Unlike the music industry, which has standard licensing practices as developed for the radio, the advertising medium has no such global agreements. So I don’t think this is viable. Alas. It had potential. I bet that three paragraphs ago you were thinking “No, that Coors Lite ad was lame, but I would totally pay for a copy of (insert your favorite ad).” And that should be the indication of a business model.