(VIDEO) Omnicom Experimenting With Versioning Of TV Ads In National Units

LAS VEGAS - Until addressable television advertising achieves greater national scale with less system-by-system logistics, what excites Omnicom Media Group's Chris Geraci is the potential versioning of commercials. It would involve having versions of creative within a national commercial unit to appeal to different households.

"We're just beginning to experiment with one company that's involved in that," Geraci, who is President of National Broadcast for the media agency group, says in an interview with Beet.TV at CES 2017.

He describes it as "sort of a rethinking of the whole Canoe idea," a reference to the 2008 launch of Canoe Ventures by a half dozen major cable operators. The initial concept of the company was to develop interactive TV ads, as ADWEEK reports.

The modern iteration would direct advertising not on a local basis as with addressable, which is limited to two minutes of local advertising inventory, but on a national basis based on what's known about specific households.

It could involve "ten versions of a particular brand advertisement that has different meanings for different individuals," Geraci says. "But really it would be in that one commercial position that the advertiser owns with a particular national network."

As for local addressable TV ads, "As you get these distribution platforms to be bigger and of greater scale that can then precisely target households and you're covering most of the U.S., it becomes a bigger idea," he adds.

On the subject of commercial load within programming, Geraci lauds the efforts of media companies like Turner that are experimenting with fewer commercials in addition to offering brands sponsored content opportunities that are complementary with programming.

"I give them credit for trying to address this head one and de-commercialize at least one of their networks in a major way to see if that's going to improve viewership," Geraci says. "Let's face it. If they build ratings by lowering commercial load then they've got more GRP's to sell. So in their view I guess it's a practical business model to try and do that."

As for branded content that fills in as a substitute for traditional ads, Geraci says Omnicom has experimented with it but the format is limited to advertisers that have "a certain specific message" that ties in well with the content.

"When you've got that and can make that work, it's sort of lightening in a bottle and it's a wonderful execution to take advantage of. But I don't think it's a large scale business that just about everybody can be involved in," Geraci says.

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