For a testosterone-fueled video trip through clear, blue, Thunderbird-filled skies, Do Something Amazing (Tilzy.TV page) is awesome. The online, interactive advertising campaign launched in September 2006 by the U.S. Air Force features neatly packaged, slightly saccharinated shorts showcasing the super neat-o things that Air Force soldiers do. All moral and political implications aside, watching Staff Seargant Daniel Batt dispose of unserviceable excess bombs or seeing how a “bunker-buster” got its name satiates an entertainment craving similar to consuming those high-speed slow motion clips or parkour. They’re fun to watch.
They’re also representative of one of the first noteworthy investments into new media marketing tactics and advertising for soldier recruitment from the Armed Forces. Last week, the U.S. Navy announced the second.
### In an extensive ad campaign with Wizzard Media – a podcasting distribution company that claims over 85 million monthly download requests and over 8,000 audio and video publishers – the Navy will see over “3,000 ad placements across 1,200-plus individual audio and video podcast episodes” from 20 different shows with several million downloads through January. You can currently watch the ads on Next New Networks shows like Fast Lane Daily and VOD Cars. Take a look:
Back when newspapers and posters propagated military propaganda, Uncle Sam expressed how much he wanted YOU for the Army. Now, the digital publications, walls, and entertainment of cybertown are bedecked with glossy Air Force videos telling you to “Do Something Amazing” and alluring announcements that the Navy wants to “Unman the Front Lines.” In a space where “soldiering is being sold like soap,” why isn’t more soap being sold like soap?
The amount of major advertising deals made with forms of internet television are becoming more commonplace, but still seemingly few and far enough between to command media attention. “Prom Queen Gets Some Hair Spray!” “Dewars sponsors final episode of Ze Frank!” “The Burg Lands Motorola Deal!” “Lonelygirl15 to hock Neutrogena Face Cream!” “Blip.tv and Break a Leg Get a Smart Sponsor!” If the Navy’s capable of understanding the value, importance, and business of internet-TV, what’s taking everyone else so long?
The Navy does have a recruitment and dvertising budget close to $300 million, which might offer them some room to play around, but it’s not like major brands are strapped for cash when it comes to buying ads (for perspective, the average Prints and Advertising budget for a theatrical film release is around $35 million ). As Mark Hopkins of Mashable and Tom Gresham of Gun Talk Podcasts note, this type of deal has a lot to do with Wizzard’s recent partnership with media metrics provider, Nielsen NetRatings. Advertisers like measurements, and the more accurate information that’s easily accessible, the more likely they’ll be to put dollars into the space.
Ad platforms like the ones developed by VideoEgg and YouTube have already accomplished this to a certain extent and are developing partnerships with many household brands. But their lists of ad buyers still don’t compare to ones made by traditional TV. Maybe, like Jim Else, VP of Sales at Wizzard Media says, “Podcast advertising is on the cusp of becoming a red-hot vehicle for marketers.” Perhaps we’ll see a greater influx of advertisers in the coming months.
Whenever it happens, it’ll be a big day for entertainment on the web when deals like the Navy’s are no longer newsworthy.