Unless you have an Internet-based set-top box on your television, you
probably didn’t notice the enhanced advertisement for the Ford Focus on Wednesday night’s broadcast of
the Grammy Awards.
The ad, developed by J. Walter Thompson
and interactive TV player RespondTV,
allowed viewers with Internet-based set-top boxes to click on their TV
remote control and get more information about the Ford Focus sent to their
The airing of the advertisement represents another step in the growing
experimentation with interactive television advertising. Viewership right
now isn’t likely high enough to make this kind of ad pay off immediately,
but it gives Ford and J. Walter Thompson, not to mention RespondTV, to make
a low-traffic dry run.
The commercial aired on KFMB in San Diego, WUSA in Washington DC, WGNX in
Atlanta, WRAL in Raleigh and on WKMG in Orlando. Viewers with set-top boxes
running certain software — Liberate, PowerTV, or Microsoft TVPAC — could
access the enhanced feature.
“Enhanced TV is the next big step for advertisers. It enables a real-time
exchange of valuable information between our clients and their consumers,
and it creates new opportunities to communicate in an interactive,
one-to-one way with the TV audience,” says Andy Prakken, executive
director, communication services for J. Walter Thompson.
“We know that there will soon be an explosion in the number of homes
capable of receiving interactive advertising.”