Advertisers target video iPod users

Unlike TV and other traditional media, the iPod and the shows sold on the iTunes Music Store come advertisement-free. But the device won’t be devoid of ads forever. The Wall Street Journal reports that marketers are feverishly experimenting to figure out what ad content is appropriate for the iPod. [paid sub. required]

“Some companies are attaching recycled TV spots to the beginning of video files, or podcasts, that can be downloaded from popular Web sites. Others are creating new, subtler pitches to bracket shows attractive to their target audiences,” reports the Journal. “And still others are creating their own podcasts that blur the line between entertainment and advertisement in hopes of enticing people to watch the commercials for their own sake.”

Large firms are currently trying a range of different concepts. Nintendo is reusing 15-second Mario Kart DS TV commercials at the beginning of video podcasts on GrindTV.com. Anheuser-Busch is blending entertainment and advertising with its humorous Ted Ferguson Bud Light campaign, and GM’s Hummer division sponsored a GQ magazine video podcast with two 15-second spots.

The companies appear to be taking an outside-the-box approach to the iPod ads. “The content has to be unique and different,” says Marlene Coulis of Anheuser-Busch. “Advertisers have to free themselves from the 30-second ad,” a Nintendo representative said. And “It’s not about hard-sell on the iPod,” according to Liz Vanzura of GM.

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