Viewers Not Watching Ads? Make the “Ads” Better.

According to The New York Times, MTV is having a lot of success with “podbusting,” sponsored content that is almost indistinguishable from the entertainment programming.

“The results are amazing,” Hank Close, the president for sales at MTV Networks, said. “In many of these messages we’re seeing 100 percent retention.”
“We are increasingly being asked by advertisers to create messages for audiences in our own voice,” Mr. Close said.

Examples of MTV’s podbusting moves include a short chase movie called “Get Moe,” sponsored by Mountain Dew and a series of shorts called “Men of Action” which promotes the virtues of KFC and Kay Jewelers.
Dario Spina, who runs the integrated marketing division for MTV’s entertainment channels like Comedy Central and Spikea said, “good commercial content is good content.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. This kind of article, the fact that it’s a story at all, says a lot about how ad agencies are losing control of the one thing they had left: the creative idea. There’s nothing new at all about making commercials that are interesting enough to hold viewers’ attention. That’ s been every Creative’s goal since the dawn of time (or at least since Bill Bernbach showed people the way). What’s interesting to me is that most agency groups (BDAs especially) are now so busy chasing their own tails internally and worrying about making their quarterly numbers that even the most basic element of what an ad agency does is being stolen by others. Calling it “podbusting” is fine but it’s simply the process of making commercials that are cool enough to keep people watching. At this rate, it’s just a matter of time before ad agencies become a source for nothing but snake-oil “Planning” and the occasional media buy. (With a full array of SVPs to serve it up and justify the outrageous fees, of course.) Not that there aren’t companies that require that level of unproductivity to match their own. But for writers and art directors and other artists who want to see the things they create actually come to life, ad agencies are looking more and more like the least productive places to work.