New York Times: In Vintage TV Ads, a Curious Fountain of Hope (and Cheese). “Search YouTube with the word ‘commercials’ and the decade of your choosing, and you will find hundreds of compilations, including transfers of old broadcasts with everything but the advertisements and the breaking news updates edited out. I put on these compilations as background noise when I’m doing chores or eating dinner. It allows me to make believe that I live in a world I never got to inhabit but is still familiar, a time that seems simpler by virtue of the fact that it isn’t actively making me miserable.”
Tubefilter: YouTube Ads Contain More Male Characters, But Those Starring Females Nab More Views (Study). “Google has conducted a new study alongside the Geena Davis Institute On Gender In Media (GDIGM) into various gender dynamics at play in the realm of YouTube advertising. Google and the GDIGM — which advocates for the equal representation of women in media — studied a total of 2.7 million video ads (with 550 billion views) that were uploaded to YouTube over a four-year period ended last March across 11 different convent verticals and 51 different markets.”
Reclaim the Net: World’s largest and oldest commercial archive Adland taken offline after questionable DMCA claim . “Adland, the biggest commercial archive in the world, has been shut down after its host Vultr responded to a questionable Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim by telling Adland to remove its domain from the network within 24 hours.”
The Drum: How Animation Made Ad Land (And How Ad Land Made Animation) . “The British Film Institute’s (BFI) new archive of animated ads tells the story of two industries bound by symbiosis: while animation broke down the confines of reality for creatives, the ad industry proved a profitable playpen for the first generation of animators.” The archive will only play if you’re in the UK. I’m not going to mention anything about using a VPN to get around this.
Indy Star: IU is putting 1970s beer and ice cream commercials online, and they’re hilarious . “IU recently acquired the hoard of ads, which competed for Clio awards between 1959 and 1991, from the London International Advertising Awards. They estimate it contains at least 80,000 commercials from 85 countries. The university has digitized about 100 of the ads so far and offers some for streaming. ”
Irish Times: IFI adverts archive a treasure trove of nostalgia. “The IFI Irish Film Archive, supported by a €290,000 grant from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, has catalogued, digitised, restored and preserved a massive collection of 35mm film television ads which were left rotting and growing mould in damp warehouses across the State for decades.”
At least one person on my Facebook timeline called this. From The Drum: Google Super Bowl ad inadvertently triggers voice-activated Google Home speakers. “Google has inadvertently found itself reaching out to millions of homes equipped with its voice-activated assistant after airing a Super Bowl ad featuring the hi-tech device.”
If you’re not interested in the football but don’t want to miss the commercials, Quartz has a full list of them for you along with links.
An interesting (and surprisingly funny) article about the tech behind the Internet Archive’s Political Ad Archive. “Remember that time you were watching Netflix and you blacked out because your cat sucker-punched you?” No, wait, that was one of the funny parts. Hang on: “Our mission is to provide a free and open resource for citizens, journalists, and researchers who want to understand the paid messages from their politicians, and to archive billions of dollars worth of democracy….This post is about how the service works, but I’ll start with the punch line: we watch tons of TV—probably literally, our servers are heavy—and filter out the noise, leaving only the political ads. Then our DVR robots (DVRRs for short) activate and count all copies of those ads, keep track of when and where they were played, toss in a little human contributed metadata, and share the DVRR results (DVRRRs) and code base with you, our DVRRR recipients.”
You know that states which have their election primaries early in the cycle get a lot of TV advertising, but did you know exactly how much? A new game lets you try to dodge the ads while couch-surfing. “Using data from the Political TV Ad Archive, which scrapes broadcasts for campaign ads and stores them in a timestamped database, I built ‘Super Campaign Dodger.’ It’s an arcade-style game that puts you in Iowa two days before the caucuses, when television ads came at an average of every 45 seconds. Your job: Keep your sanity. And as you slide across channels, keep in mind that this is real data—this is what the TV schedule looked like in Iowa right before the big vote.” The article has the game embedded. I lasted just over three hours (um, in-game time. Not real time.)
UPDATE: A Kickstarter has been launched for this project – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/192621730/the-dietz-gi-joe-archive-digitization-project
The Joe Report has a story about the discovery of a bunch of old GI Joe commercials from the 1960s. “What’s there? Along with photos and clippings about [Herb] Dietz’s work, the core of the archive is twenty-six 16mm film positives of commercials from 1964 through 67, the heyday of the military era. A number of them are out there already, but generally in low quality multi-generation dubs. Having just reviewed the first few frames of each, I can confirm that there are many not yet in circulation, including commercials for the Soldiers of the World, the cadet sets, and many more.”
Matt McKeeby is trying to raise funds to digitize the commercials and make them freely available; unfortunately a Kickstarter isn’t a viable option because, GI Joe being Hasbro’s intellectual property, Mr. McKeeby is limited in the kinds of “rewards” he can offer. If you want to donate toward the estimated $1600 in expenses to get the films digitized, please visit his Web site.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), then your interest in the Superbowl is mainly in the commercials. In that case you’ll like the news that CBS will livestream the Superbowl commercials next year. “The internet has changed the way we watch the Super Bowl, and media is following suit. Variety reports that CBS, in a game-changing move, will live stream every national ad during next year’s big game in near-real time. It’s an incredible decision that will change how advertisers spend money on the event, and helps turn Super Bowl 50 into a much bigger spectacle.” It also means that a 30-second ad slot will run almost 5 million smackers — and that using a Superbowl ad as the linchpin of an advertising campaign will be a huge, dangerous gamble. Cough RADIO SHACK cough
The Internet Archive is going to have a 2016 political ad tracker. “We will be capturing all TV programming in select 2016 primary election locales, front-loaded to reflect early-state candidate winnowing. We hope to apply lessons learned during the primaries, to key general election battleground states in the fall. In addition to our regular TV news research library interface, we’ll be creating an online reference page for each unique-content political ad. These pages will present journalist fact-checking and other analysis. Accompanying these assessments will be information about ad sponsors, campaign financial transparency data as well as dynamically updated tracking on each ad’s plays, including frequency, locale, etc.”