By Daniel Emery

It’s common practice these days for marketers to combine data with technology to give consumers a more personalised experience.

Voice activated in-home assistants and talking fridges are becoming the norm.

But will we ever be comfortable with hearing our televisions address us by name?

Channel 4 is adding to its video on demand advertising package with this new format, which accesses registration data.

The first brand to utilise this ‘world first’ is 20th Century Fox in its push for Alien: Covenant.

The movie is promising to be terrifying enough, but having your name called out at the end of a trailer, urging you to “run” has seen viewers describe the experience as “creepy”.

Perhaps a friendlier advert will see consumers more receptive to the format.

Foster’s and Ronseal have invested, with the beer brand set to reveal a pint with the viewer’s name on it, while the paint manufacturer is ready to urge consumers by name to engage in DIY.

As Channel 4’s digital and creative leader David Amodio says “the most attention-grabbing word for anyone to hear is without doubt one’s own name”.

Channel 4 has personally identifiable information (PII) data from registered users who have agreed that data can be used for advertising purposes.  By connecting that data and, in real-time, changing the audio stream as part of the video, the channel claims to be delivering an immensely powerful marketing tool.

The fact this can be done on a massive scale and fast enough to make it seamless is pretty impressive.

Advertisers argue that the fact viewers found this first personalised advert “creepy” is unsurprising, since it was promoting a horror film.

They point out that advertising using your name, after you’ve given it to their company, is no different to receiving a personalised letter or email from a brand, after you’ve filled out a form providing your personal data.

Brand awareness metrics will no doubt prove whether this new format is going to be a success.

It’s a tool many advertisers will be considering, since video advertising is highly effective – and advanced interactive video works even better.

The sky’s the limit on the creative ways in which adverts could be personalised.

Hearing your favourite blockbuster star address you by name would no doubt be a thrill.


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