AdKeeper: could the tail wagging the dog make it a success?

Just imagine being able to keep ads like this FOREVER!

If you’re like me, your first reaction to the idea of storing banner ads to view later will be, “huh?” Your second reaction will be, “Say what?” Your third reaction will be, “Oh, yeah, right. I’m all over it, bro.” But round about your fifth or sixth reaction, you’ll say, “OK, I’m tired of this intro. What’s your point?”

AdKeeper is a new technology that lets users “keep” banner ads so they can go look at them later, when they are done looking at the stuff that made them ignore the ads in the first place. I know—who would do it, right? But founder Scott Kurnit, who made millions selling About.com (which he also founded) to the NYT, passionately believes that users want to do just that. He claims he’s believed for 15 years that the fact that users have no control over when and where they see ads is a fatal flaw in the Internet advertising model. So he’s finally doing something about it.

And we could write him off as an enormously wealthy deluded fool but for the fact that he’s attracted a boatload of cash backing, plus heavy-hitter mega-global charter advertisers like Unilever, McDonald’s, Ford and lots more. So, while the technology may ultimately fail to be a game-changer in the long run, it’s definitely going to change the game in the short run. You can bet an “AdKeeper” column will be coming soon to a media buy spreadsheet near you. 

Which is where it gets interesting, kinda. Dollars WILL be spent making ads “keepable.” And creatives will be tasked with making keepable ads do something to make the idea of keeping them meaningful. I recently told a couple of industry colleagues about the thing and in two minutes we came up with three or four interesting ideas. Online coupons that become active at a future date, for instance, forcing users to keep the ads to get the discounts.

This and our other ideas were all tail-wagging-the-dog concepts. But who’s to say some third-party creative idea wouldn’t help AdKeeper catch on for reals? Not me. I’m still living down saying, “There is no way a creepy animated dancing baby will take the Internet by storm.”