Advertising 3G Ads To Advertisers?
By Mike Masnick, Wed May 18 19:00:00 GMT 2005

3's latest strategy to boost its 3G offering in the UK is to start showing video ads. However, it seems to have limited appeal for both subscribers and advertisers, which has 3 trying to explain the benefits of a questionable offering.

From the very beginning, Hutchison's 3 UK has been a big believer in the idea that video over 3G of some sort would be a killer app. It started out with a tremendous marketing campaign about how everyone would be video calling each other -- despite the fact that history has shown (over and over again) that people aren't that interested in seeing each other when they call each other. This was made worse by the clunky 3G phones 3 offered, and the "empty room" problem -- where no one wants to buy a phone that can do video calling, because no one else has a video phone.

While 3 quickly realized this mistake, and focused on other marketing ideas, it continually drifts back into various video offerings, such as showing concerts online -- which gave the company plenty of publicity but not that much money.

The latest attempt by 3 to push for videos on phones is to promote that it can now offer video advertisements. It claims this is a first, but it certainly seems like others are thinking along similar lines. Either way, there are some oddities in this particular offering. The first such streaming commercial is a movie trailer -- which, of all commercials, may be the one type that people wouldn't mind watching. However, like McDonald's before it, 3 is limiting the offer. Only the first 100,000 downloaders get to see the movie trailer. Maybe that's what's so unique about this offer after all. People who want to see the advertisement are going to be told they can't.

More to the point, though, is that it appears that 3 is really going out of its way to convince advertisers that this is a worthwhile project. The quotes in the article show 3 reaching out (yes, advertising) to advertisers to get them to buy into this ad format. However, nowhere does anyone explain how such ads are appealing to subscribers. If subscribers don't want to watch them, then no matter how "new and targeted" the format is, it won't generate much of a return for advertisers.