Advertisers Find Sneaky New Way to Make You Watch Commercials

    by Corey Eridon

    Date

    November 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    commercialsI don't know if this is innovative, annoying, or a little bit of both. (Probably a little bit of both, but let me know what you think.)

    I was buying tickets for Bruce in the U.S.A. last night through Ticketmaster. I was doing this because Bruce Springsteen isn't touring in the U.S. anytime soon, and I needed something to tide me over til his next tour.

    But I digress.

    So, I was buying the tickets, and I get to the captcha part of the online ticket purchasing process that we're all familiar with. It usually looks something like this:

    captcha

    Confusing, but most of us can get it right on the third of fourth refresh. (We're a highly adaptable species.) I didn't see that familiar captcha this time, though. I saw this:

    ad-captcha

    And if you think it's just a plain ol' ad, you're wrong -- when you click on the copy to "reveal the security code," a video starts to play advertising Cascade. You're then instructed to "listen" for the security code, which resulted in me hunching down at my computer like an idiot to catch the secret phrase. My feeling of idiocy only multiplied when I looked at my screen and saw this:

    captcha-advertisement

    Heh. Triple Action Formula. Didn't know you were just gonna slap it on the screen. Got it.

    What Makes This Weird

    Good on Ticketmaster for finding a way to make a few extra bucks, I guess. But a couple things made me feel icky about this: 

    1) The phrasing makes it seem like you don't want to help stop ticket scalpers if you don't dream about Cascade Triple Action Formula, and implies that the folks at Cascade are personally fighting the good fight against scalpers.

    2) They trick you into listening to the ad instead of just looking for the code to type in.

    But you're not really listening because, if you're like me, you're freaking out so much about not missing the secret code. (It's a secret, after all! What if they're hiding it in the commercial?!)

    But, I have to hand it to them -- "they" found a corner of the internet to 1) sneak in advertising where it hasn't been snuck before, and 2) sneak it in a place where you actually do have to pay attention to it.

    Kind of.

    Have you seen these ads elsewhere? (My colleague found one a couple weeks ago on Songza.) What do you think of them?

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