Interactive adverts: Press the red button now

Interactive adverts can be a joy or a pain, but expert eye Scott Gronmark assesses some of the more memorable ones
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The Independent Online

Adidas

WEAPON 7

David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson kick each other's balls in one of the first interactive ads to suggest that pressing red is as much about keeping punters with your brand as it is to do with ordering brochures. Nothing but extra video behind the red key, and no boring boxes to fill in - just a nice video present from Adidas.

Chemical Brothers

WEAPON 7

Viewers who did as they were told during this 10-day campaign for the Chemical Brothers' aptly titled "Push the Button" album were taken to a virtual jukebox allowing them to hear snippets of some of the tracks; 280,000 fans accepted the invitation and 22 per cent of them, we're told, went on to buy the album.

Citroen

PICTURE PRODUCTION COMPANY

Viewers who've just watched the somewhat bewildering Happy Days ad for the C3 are presented with an interactive feast: the character-based menu system is fun and original; the extra video is jolly; and the "Which character are you?" quiz is an engagingly sneaky way of presenting some extra car facts. 'A' for effort.

Depaul Trust

PUBLICIS

This ad for the Depaul Trust homeless charity features a young man kicked out by his stepfather. The audience is asked to make choices on his behalf; chillingly, all responses compound his problems. Too complex for anything but a broadband TV service, this early classic aired on Kingston Cable in Hull. Creatively outstanding.

Dulux

AGENCY.COM

Viewers choose from an on-screen colour chart, provide minimal information using the remote control, press send - and three days later a sample arrives. Simple, cheap, easy to do, and takes barely any time at all. Direct response i-ads that don't use video won't set the world alight, but it's nice when they use the medium this well.

Harry Potter

PICTURE PRODUCTION COMPANY

The i-ad for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire represents a nice little goodie bag: extra footage from the film, a promo for the tie-in game featuring the young stars discussing the avatar versions of themselves, and an un-insulting competition that actually requires some recall of the book. Effective.

Honda diesel

ZIP TV, RED BEE MEDIA (FORMERLY BBC BROADCAST)

They took one of the great TV ads of 2004 and added what it had been crying out for: a bouncing ball and words so we could sing along to the insidious "Hate something, change something..." ditty. Far too many extra features, but the recordings of viewers' pet hates and how they'd change things was an innovative touch.

Orange

WEAPON 7

The funniest i-ad: spot-on self-reverential five minutes of marketing folk talking nonsense. The sound one of them makes to indicate the speed of broadband is worth missing five minutes of any TV programme to catch. Interactive advertising as sheer entertainment, with a few facts slipped in when you're not looking.

Smirnoff

WEAPON 7

Serious faces now as interactive creatives play with the "triple-distilled" concept by repeating the TV ad three times until viewers pressing red get what they want - a happy ending. Cool, engaging, and oddly affecting, given it's about glum rich people. Interactive drama has been difficult to crack; nice to see advertisers taking on the challenge, and winning.

T-Mobile

WEAPON 7

Apart from giving details of T-Mobile's new "Web'n'Walk" service - how to get it and what it costs - this i-ad gets real by offering video of actual Londoners needing to get things done (buy flowers, find a joke shop, whatever) being shown how the service can help them. Convincing - and ultra-pert Caroline makes a nice change from Covent Garden's usual stalkers.

Volvo S40

SKY INTERACTIVE

Swedish villagers all buy the same make of car. About one in 10 viewers who spotted the interactive symbol pressed red (435,000) and spent an average of six minutes interacting - no doubt watching the spoof documentary about the so-called "Mystery of Delaro". A classic example of the 30-second advert acting as a teaser, with interactivity delivering the sticky coup de grâce.

VW Golf

TRIBAL DDB

This offered viewers the chance to watch the magically updated Gene Kelly "Singin' in the Rain" routine over and over, and a making-of film that, for once, actually told you what you wanted to know. Oh, and a poorly arranged vertical menu leading to bumf about the car in tiny letters for people who like that sort of thing.

Scott Gronmark is MD of the interactive media consultancy, Scott Gronmark Associates and former Head of Interactive TV for the BBC.

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