Solve me, dear…

So, advertising. It’s a big business. Millions of pounds fly around the world every day, looking for the golden rewards of brand and message recall. New and innovative ways of forcing a brand or slogan on the unsuspecting customer are created all the time. So today I thought I should inform you of a new form of advertising that has made it’s debut recently. Well, fairly recently, it actually started some time in February, but I only found out about it the other day.

It is the TYPE-IN ad, by Solve Media. You may have seen the ‘ReCAPTCHA’ authentication doodahs around. The idea there is that you type the two words into the program, and, on you side of the equation, you have effectively proved that you are a human, while on their side, the words that you typed in were scanned from some book somewhere, so the algorithm can add this information to the information that it uses to work out what the word means next time it scans a similar shape. It’s an interesting idea, and I believe it works quite well. Well, if you use the internet regularly, you’ve probably seen why, considering it has a near monopoly on authentication programs.

However, TYPE-IN ads are coming around, and while these may not have the good cause that reCAPTCHA does, they will certainly have the backing of the biggest companies around.

The idea is similar. An image is displayed, and you are told to type in the phrase or word shown. However, these aren’t scanned books, or computer generated pictures. No, these are adverts, paid for by a variety of companies. You merely have to type in the name of the company, or maybe the slogan, that is shown in the image. It’s a simple idea. And it works.

studies have shown that this form of advertising can increase product recall by anything up to 400%. That’s pretty impressive. And one of the major problems with static or banners ads is that message recall is very very low. People see the name, but they see little else after it. Not only that, but they are annoying. Do you remember the mosquito advert that kept on popping up a while back? It made a horrible noise, that wouldn’t stop until you clicked on it. These adverts are not only silent, but also necessary to continue, and look no more out of place than the old reCAPTCHA boxes.

Indeed, it appears that Solve Media have also cracked the idea of interstitials. The confirmation, and sometimes advertising, pages that appear between two pages that you really want to look at. Sometimes they are very simple, just a quick click. Sometimes, they can be used as authentication pages. Now they can be used to advertise, without the ill effect of people getting bored of having to click through adverts to get to the right page. The consumer no longer thinks of it as an advert, just a necessary check that occurs all over the place.

So is this the future of advertising? Hidden, almost subliminal messages designed to promote brand identitiy and message recall? Indeed, will we reach a position where the message is no longer important? Like the sponsered adverts that surround nearly every program these days, will the future of advertising merely be to raise awareness of a particular name, then, at the shops, just make sure that your name is visible?

While the latter part is merely scaremongering, the first part is an interesting point. With LinkedIn selling for a hefty price, and companies all over the world looking at the internet for money, we could well be in another dotcom bubble. And bubbles need money to support them, else they collapse, and, as the internet has already shown, there is a lot of money in advertising on the web. I suspect we will see a lot of the services that we take for granted, such as more search engine results, web browser add-ons, and even just simple web pages, being sponsered to within an inch of their lives.

Having said that, what do I know about money? I don’t even have a job…. Anyway, that’s my forcast. It may well affect house prices, or give you cancer.

UPDATE: I thought I should probably add a title. Kudos if you get the joke…


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