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Geico Creates Unskippable Preroll Videos

If you’re like me and the other 94% of YouTube viewers who hit the ”Skip” button as soon as a pre-roll ad allows, it shouldn’t be news that viewership rates for these ads are not great. That makes the first 5 of these ads super important – because unlike those running in many other media, these ads run a very high risk of not being seen. Part of the problem: too many brands rely on rerunning spots they created for TV – a completely different medium where the first few seconds are not as crucial to hook the viewer.

Geico has directly addressed the problem by creating a series of ads that put an extreme emphasis on the first five seconds. “You can’t skip this Geico ad,” the commercial says, “because it’s already over” – and that is when the real idea begins. Curious viewers who choose to continue watching are rewarded with an unexpected and interesting experience: we are taken “backstage,” as we watch the actors who try to maintain the position they were in when the ad officially ended. In some cases, we’re treated to 55 more awkward seconds – 11 times the duration of the actual ad – of staring at people trying to hold the pose as life continues around them. 

I love this idea because the creative is truly made for the medium. These ads wouldn’t really make as much sense if they ran as is on television. There are many times when a creative concept is just “rolled out” across other elements, without true regard for how it will impact the end user at each stage. Not so with Geico.

~ Tracey Jeffas, Account Supervisor, The S3 Agency


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