Virgin Mobile is ‘Blinkwashing’ Viewers With its New Interactive Video Ad

Everyone knows that online video is booming. Advertisers are increasing ad spending on video, and more and more people watch online videos every day. It’s no wonder, then, that companies have begun to take video advertising to the next level by incorporating interactive components.

People can’t take their eyes off Virgin Mobile’s new ‘Blinkwashing’ campaign. No literally, you can’t take your eyes off it…that’s how it works. Through their unique YouTube channel, the company is promoting a series of 25 videos that viewers can scroll through just by blinking. Using viewers’ webcams, the site can monitor blinking and change the video clip almost simultaneously (if you have a speedy internet connection).

Even though the video itself changes, the message does not—it’s a continuous advertisement. The videos are time-coded and “smart cached,” so when you blink and a new clip appears, the dialogue picks up right where you left off.

“We understand that traditional advertising is limited in how much it can tell viewers about Virgin Mobile [so] why not let viewers create unique, fun experiences while learning more about our brand?” said Doug Vosik, part of the Virgin Mobile USA brand team.

Personally, I am very impressed with the campaign and its execution. My webcam captured every blink as I scrolled through the unique and often humorous clips. Typically, I wouldn’t sit through a two minute ad of people chattering on about why I need to switch to Virgin Mobile. Because I was able to interact with and somewhat control the ad content, I stayed engaged all the way through.

The videos aren’t embeddable, but you can test out the campaign for yourself on the Virgin Mobile US channel. Here’s the ‘Blinkwashing’ teaser.

Interactive video ads are increasing click through rates, engagement with the brand and message recall. An analysis from TubeMogul found that viewers exposed to an interactive video ad express intent to purchase 9.9% more than viewers that did not see an ad.

Currently, only 10%-15% of current online video ads are interactive. However, as brands become more familiar with online video marketing, we will no doubt see an increased shift to interactivity.


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