Insomnia ads: TBWA finds a TV advertising concept that utilizes dead air in Philippines

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[Manila] Late night channel surfers in the Philippines are being targeted by "insomnia ads" invented by Omnicom Group's TBWA Santiago Mangada Puno."Insomnia ads are like print ads for television," said Tong Puno, a TBWA managing partner in Manila.

The ads appear on leading network ABS-CBN's two channels, in place of a standard color bar sign-off signal, after they cease broadcasting between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends. The ads run during the entire time slot for a week.

The concept was developed by TBWA Art Director Evans Sator and used for clients Advil, Alaska powdered milk, BayanTel telecom, Mister Donut and Extra Joss energy drink.

The ads are created specifically for this new medium. The Advil ad reads, "If you're still reading this instead of sleeping, you'll probably have a headache later." And there's this for Mr. Donut. "Already thinking of breakfast? Suggestion: Mr. Donut."

Melvin Mangada, TBWA's other managing partner in Manila, said the TV network "was ecstatic that an agency would present to them an idea that would use dead time, so to speak."

"Insomnia ads" first aired as a free four-week test in September 2002 and now sell for $600 per hour, compared to $2,800 for a 30-second prime-time spot.

"This is a groundbreaking media effort," said Mr. Mangada.

In fact, the agency is working out a revenue-sharing arrangement with ABS-CBN so the network can offer late-night ads to non-TBWA clients.

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