Friday, January 15, 2010

Interactive Commercials Show Strong Early Results

LOS ANGELES ( -- After years of one-off tests, single-market trials and several false starts, interactive TV advertising finally achieved scale this fall when Cablevision became the first cable operator to offer the technology across its full footprint of 3.1 million subscribers in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey area.

The interactive ad product, Optimum Select, attracted launch advertisers including Gillette, Benjamin Moore, retailer Century 21, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Co. Each marketer signed up for two-week flights in which viewers could click on their remote controls to receive more information, product samples or gift certificates from the advertisers. But the ads weren't customized or addressed to certain viewer demographics or household incomes, so the only targeting had to come from strategic buys on certain cable networks.

The interactive spots worked well anyway, participants now say. Responses were strong enough that the campaigns were taken off the air after an average of half their scheduled runs after advertisers were caught low on promotional inventory, according to Cablevision and marketers.

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