Thursday, April 13, 2006

ABC/Disney, Like, Gives Us Something for Nothing (Not)

By now, y'all have probably read the bit about ABC/Disney offering 4 of its best to be streamed online for free. But not so fast on the free! Y'all will be a captive audience to three one-minute commercials by the advertiser of your choice. This scheme though isn't new. Back in 2000, when we were still dealing with overpriced dialup, K-Mart offered "free" dialup with a service called ( To get the free service you had to watch a commercial for K-Mart that featured The Judds.

There was they thought, no way consumers could get around it any more than ABC/Disney is hoping they will be able to get around their featured advertisers. We did. At first we turned the sound down. Then, we walked away. Finally, when we had to reboot every time we got booted off from the lousy connection, we simply switched to another carrier that wasn't going to bother us with ads by The Judds. When word got around that "free" meant being tortured by The Judds, a lot of folks figured out free wasn't free and went somewhere else. Perhaps this was not as sophisticated as "hacking" the promo, but it worked for us more than it did for K-Mart.

Umair Haque knows people will walk away or hack around--in How Not to Think Strategically About the Future of Media, pt 193941 also sees the strategy of Disney as repackaged old stuff:
All of which tells us something very important: when you tack on a nose job to a decayed strategy, you stop yourself from being truly innovative.

My reasons for thinking it's not innovative are different than Umair's, but our conculsions are the same--people will get around the force-feeding of ads. No doubt about that.

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