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Experiments with Advertising on Showyou

As the New York Times and others reported yesterday, we’ve launched a partnership with OMD, a division of Omnicom Group, to test new types of video advertising on Showyou. We’re proud of this partnership, and excited to work with OMD, a forward-thinking agency, and the great consumer brands they represent.

We’ve been thinking about this from the day we started building Showyou (and indeed, even before that). With mobile apps — and in particular with video apps like ours — we felt there was an opportunity to re-make interactive advertising into something more effective, more fun, more useful. Into something better for brands and advertisers and people who use our service. Where, as Umair Haque has written, ads aren’t a “nuisance cost” but instead benefit consumers.

The gold standard for us has always been great print advertising, the kind found in magazines especially. Where beautifully shot, glossy ads tell a story and are an integral, organic, and are part of the overall experience. Where, if you don’t encounter an ad you don’t care for, you simply turn the page.

In the experiment we’re running with OMD, and six of the great brands they represent (Levis, Showtime, Mountain Dew, Monster, and Brooks running shoes) we’ve made video advertising an organic part of the Showyou experience. Each of the brands have grids with their videos — just like the grids for publishers and people who use Showyou.

Videos from the brands are rotated into the main grid on our iPad app, along with videos from people and channels you follow on Showyou, or friends and people you follow on Twitter or Facebook. They behave just like all other videos in the app; you can choose to watch them, share them, comment on them — or not — with a tap. The only thing that’s different is that we note that the video is “promoted.”

Will this be successful? We don’t know. We’ll learn a lot over the coming months.

But, just to be able to test this with OMD and the brands they represent is a huge success. We’re excited to have found a forward-thinking, innovative partners in OMD, Levis, Monster, Mountain Dew, Doritos, and Brooks; with them we look forward to inventing new ways for video advertising to tell stories, and to be fun, useful and relevant in the mobile world.

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