Basically, viewers who pause a show while watching TVNZ Ondemand trigger a Primo bubble that floats out of the screen and tells consumers to ‘Take A Moment and Chill', which is the catchphrase for its 'beware the wrong fridge' campaign.
Of course, world-first is always a very loosely and often inaccurately used term and fairly similar technology, like banners that pop up on screen whenever viewers fast forward through the ads on their Tivo or other personal video recording device has been available in America as far back as 2004 (Tourism Australia had one suitably classy number that said something like 'Why the bloody hell are you fast-forwarding through the ads').
TVNZ's digital media solutions manager Marijke Zwaagman says the world has been scoured and, while nothing has been found to disprove the world-first claim, being 100 percent confident is pretty difficult.
"We are pretty confident that our concept of an ad presenting after a user initiates a pause action in the online catch up TV environment is a world first. Doubleclick has confirmed our implementation is a world first as far as they are aware. We are familiar with publisher offerings both locally and internationally and have never seen this kind of ad unit before. Even Googling hasn’t uncovered any site that allows advertisers to present an ad in video content when the user pauses that video content."
Apparently, the strategy is all about reaching viewers at a time when they would usually consume Primo. Or, in other, more press releasey words, "when they are taking a break from life". Ironically, given all this talk of chilling out, a quick office survey shows that this slightly interrupty feature has the potential to be quite annoying. But from TVNZ's point of view, with 80 percent of the network's most popular shows now available to view on the free catch up service and 400,000 New Zealanders signing in to watch every month, its strategy is based on adding a new piece of inventory in an effort to monetise the burgeoning online realm.
Jeremy O’Brien, general manager of media solutions at TVNZ says by leveraging an understanding of TVNZ Ondemand user behaviour, Primo's brand consumption context and alignment against the Primo brand proposition, the 'Ad on Pause' project was a true business-focused and effectiveness-based solution.
And Andrew Reinholds, managing partner at OMD, believes it is a fantastic example of how innovative use of media can bring to life a brand’s "core strategic positioning".