Monday, December 17, 2007

Ads as entertainment

At about 10:30ish last Friday night I was sitting on my couch channel-flipping when I stumbled across the ION network and a show called Firebrand TV. A glass of wine in one hand and a bag of chocolate in the other, I was more than content to watch entertaining TV spots for the next half hour.

It was an unusual show. The entire content was 'good' ads with a host (a CJ, Commercial Jockey, or so I've learned) breaking up the groups of ads. As an ad junkie and art director in an ad agency, I've always found it absurd how difficult it can be to find ads you love on the internet. They're out there, but often only with a paid subscription of a fee to download the spot. These sites are mainly aimed at people in the ad world who want the spots as reference or just because they love the medium. As a poor student a few years back, I found this infuriating! Aren't ads one medium that the creators should want to give to you? Want you to show around to your friends? They've made the content entertaining in order to sell the product, not the ad, so you should want it to be viral and posted all over the internet, right? I consistently ran into this problem trying to find one of my favorite spots, the IKEA Lamp commercial. So brilliant, but often removed from wherever it was posted on the internet.

YouTube has alleviated this problem, to a degree. The trouble with YouTube, and simultaneously it's greatest feature, is that the content is user generated. Look up IKEA lamp and you'll likely find the commercial, in varying degrees of quality, but it's buried amidst a plethora of home-made knock-offs from wanna-be web celebrities.

That's where Firebrand comes in.

Firebrand's main presence isn't this random show I stumbled across, but a website filled with good ads from a large variety of brands. The target audience isn't necessarily people in the industry as much as people who enjoy a good commercial as much as a good show. It's a recent startup and the site is still in Beta form, but so far their content is great and easy to access. The search function works beautifully and you don't have to log in to view the ads. Plus, you can download any of the ads for free in a variety of formats from specific to your iPod or iPhone to Window Media Player files. Beautiful.

So here's one of the weirdest, but most memorable spots I've seen in a long time. Easy to access thanks to Firebrand. (Did I mention they make their videos as easy to blog as YouTube?)

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