Less than two weeks after PepsiCo exec Brad Jakeman ripped the industry's use of pre-roll advertising, a soda brand within his company is launching a new campaign that uses, you guessed it, pre-roll.
But the campaign for Mtn Dew -- which kicks off the brand's new NBA sponsorship -- attempts to use pre-roll in a way that gets around Mr. Jakeman's top complaint: That the oft-used tactic is "a model of polluting content that is not sustainable," as he put it in a fiery speech at an Association of National Advertisers event on Oct. 15.
The campaign plugs Mtn Dew Kickstart and features NBA star Russell Westbrook. Rather than using branded pre-roll, the brand is deploying a two-minute pre-roll spot that is devoid of Dew imagery. The ad shows Mr. Westbrook dressed in a bright green suit and doing a "powerstance," a new move coined by Mtn Dew. Mr. Westbrook moves through random scenes, like a beach, a swamp and a moon landing.
Like regular YouTube TrueView pre-roll spots, viewers can skip the ad after five seconds. But Dew brand leaders are hoping that the pre-roll spot is quirky and mysterious enough that people watch it till the end. At that point they can click to view a more traditional spot, as Mr. Westbrook dares viewers to "go ahead, watch my ad." The campaign is by BBDO, New York.
Mr. Jakeman, who is PepsiCo's global beverage group president, said in his ANA talk that pre-roll was "my particular peeve. I hate it."
But in an email on Tuesday he said the Mtn Dew work is "a perfect example of what I was talking about at ANA: How can we make commercial content that is at least as exciting and amazing as the non-commercial content that it is placed within/before."
He added: "I don't have anything against pre-roll per se, but about bad pre-roll which interrupts the consumer's experience of quality content. This was precisely the brief the team worked to: How do we produce amazing and compelling content for pre-roll that is at least as cool and engaging as the content it precedes."
Other marketers have tried similar tactics to get beyond the banality of traditional pre-roll ads. Geico, for instance, won a Grand Prix at Cannes this year for creating a pre-roll that shows a family around a dinner table. A voiceover declares "You can't skip this Geico ad because it's already over." Then a dog proceeds to devour every bit of food on the table, as the family is frozen in place.
Tic Tac recently deployed a pre-roll ad disguised to look like that familiar screen with a spinning center that plays before an online video loads. But in this case, the spinning center is made of Tic Tacs.
Read more about the effort on Adage.com.