For YouTube obsessives, it’s the longest five seconds in the world.
Videos with pre-roll advertising enabled force viewers to wait out the first five seconds before they can click the skip ad button and move on to the content. Because people usually click, most ads, which are often recycled TV spots instead of digital-only version, have little chance of getting to the meat of the promotion or imparting any important information.
Geico has figured out how to beat the system.
In the unskippable ad series, the insurance company frontloads the ad with the typical ending tagline, then triumphs, “You can’t skip this ad, because it’s already over,” with the Geico branding displayed prominently. They’ve produced several version of the ad for use across YouTube.
If you choose to keep watching, the ads continue after their five seconds with absurdist scenarios. In the dinner scene, the family stays frozen while a dog climbs on the table and eats all the spaghetti. High-fiving friends stay aloft while their BBQ burns, and a coworker jumps in the elevator and no one will hit “2” for her.
When, according to research, 94 percent of preroll ads gets skipped immediately after the first five seconds, these Geico spots could usher in a new genre of digital advertising that learns to play within the boundaries of viewer patience.