Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another reason to follow Spot Runner

You'd be a fool not to keep an eye on Spot Runner, the L.A.-based company that has had the audacity to suggest that pre-produced creative in any number of categories could be used by local advertisers to create customized 30-second ads—and, as of yesterday, is partnering with United Talent Agency on a "ministudio" that will distribute short, ad-supported, Web films which will use well-known actors, directors and producers. Awhile back, when I wrote this feature on Google, I got to talk to Nick Grouf, company CEO, former PeoplePC founder and architect of John Kerry's early online ad strategy. (Grouf has nothing to do with Google, far as I know, but his automated system for buying and creating TV ads bears a certain resemblance to some of Google's ad schemes.) While it was obvious that most creatives would sneer at his idea of making high production creative only a few clicks away for the local jewelry store, or dry cleaner, or bridal shop, the concept was simply ingenious. As a test, I created my own ad, complete with a media schedule, on quality cable in local markets in primetime, within about ten minutes. If I'd entered my credit card information we would've been good to go. Depending on your perspective, the concept is either genius, or extremely threatening, since it disintermediates so many of the processes (and people) that have made the traditional advertising industry work. Fortunately for WPP and Interpublic, they have seen the wisdom in Spot Runner's model, both having invested in it late last year. This new deal with UTA disintermediates in a different way, by producing high-quality content specifically for the Web, and then leveraging the potential advertising potential—this time through a human sales force. And though Spot Runner is being referred to, in some stories, as an ad agency, it's actually something much different, since it automates media planning and buying, produces advertising, and, more like a TV network, is now planning to sell advertising, gleefully ignoring the boundaries that have traditionally separated these industries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spotrunner seems to be imploding. According to Agency Spy, execs and techs are exiting spot runner as fast as they can. Advertisers are instead going with Cheap TV Spots which is the most award winning discount TV, mobile and web video ad agency in the world. CheapTVSpots is the only online agency that does not add commissions to the network air time rate. Microsoft smartly turned its back on buying Spotrunner after doing some due diligence, no doubt. So, what is Spotrunner's exit strategy now?