Free Startup Idea Fridays: Reverse Commercials

This is my latest post in my Free Startup Ideas series.

I've been coming up with business ideas since my earliest childhood memories. Most of them have been absolutely terrible. Some of them have been decent. And now I'm going to give away some of my best ones for free.

Am I really give these ideas away with zero expectation of return? Absolutely.

  1. Ideas are worthless. It's all about execution. If you want to take one of these ideas and run with it, do it. I'll even be happy to give you a brain dump with all of my notes on the idea as I’ve been thinking about most of them for a while.
  2. I take coffee meetings all the time with people looking for startup ideas. Perhaps one of these ideas will help them spark a new idea of their own.
  3. I want to get these ideas out of my head to clear some of my brain's RAM. That way I can come up with new and better ideas.
  4. I like giving things away and planting seeds.

Without further ado...

Reverse Commercials

Pitch: Television commercials have become less and less effective over the years as second and third screens are vying for the audience's attention. It's time to rethink how commercials should work. Instead of jamming marketing messages down the audience's throats, reverse commercials uses television airtime to create engagement.

Backstory: I hate commercials. I will go so far out of my way to avoid commercials at all costs. Television commercials are unsolicited interruptions intended to make me purchase something I have no interest in. They add no value. They are not micro-targeted or personalized or smart. And 99% of the time, they offer no engagement. Sometimes you get pathetic attempts at using very bad hashtags, but mostly it's the same crap. Buy my product! Buy my product! It's the same format for the last 70 years. Bash the consumer over the head with the your message. Add no value.

We can do better. We live in a world where Snapchat Stories are receiving as many viewers at the most popular TV shows themselves. And yet, companies and brands are still spending tremendous amounts of money on TV advertising. It provides diminishing ROI and yet there is still no innovation. Until now.

Let's Make Commercials Interesting

For this week's free startup idea, I'm going to give you more of a concept than a fully thought through idea. That concept is based around innovating commercials. Use commercials to attract viewers to a certain TV channel at a certain time. Create engagement that adds value to the TV viewers instead of giving them an opportunity to check their FB feed. What if people turned on a certain channel at a certain time... just for the commercial. I know it sounds crazy, but that's why it needs to be done.

Let's look at a practical example. Game of War is currently spending massive amounts of money on their TV commercials with Kate Upton. It feels like they have a commercial during every single commercial break 24 hours a day. What if instead they spent some of that money to create a real-time event and rewarded current players and gave a signup bonus to new players. They tell you to watch Family Guy Sunday night on Fox, and Kate Upton will tell you more. Then for the Game of War commercial during Family Guy, Kate tells you to watch her Snapchat Story for a promotional code. Or she does a Meerkat where she answers questions from fans about the game. Holy shit. Now we have people turning on Family Guy to WATCH the commercials. It's magic. Reverse Commercials.

As I said, this is more of a concept than anything. Maybe you're the agency who creates this campaigns. Maybe your the directory who lists all these Reverse Commercials on your site to tell people where and when to go. Maybe you sell this idea to the major TV networks. I don't know how you make it work, but the opportunity is there. Plenty of money is being wasted for a diminishing return. That is your opportunity. Go and save us from bad commercials.