Has the captive audience escaped?

Un-pimp your VW is the theme of the new Volkswagen ad campaign. You can see the ad at YouTube where VW has gotten 700,000+ non-paid views of the ad this week. Clever ad aimed a young, hip audience. Every time I watch one of these, I’m reminded of all the pointless, vapid, irrelevant ads to which we are exposed. (Once upon a time, I wrote my share of these.)

So we have ads that people seek out and intentionally watch. And we have ads that people intentionally do not watch (Tivo, switch channels, leave the room, etc). Think of the thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of ads that are sold with the unspoken understanding that the only reason people are watching or listening to them is they don’t have any/much choice in the matter. Hence the expresssion, “captive audience.” What does it mean to our current media model if the audience escapes?

What if I only got paid for creating ads so good that people intentionally watch/listened to them? If I could do it, they would be very expensive ads. [via MIT Advertising Lab]

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