Interactive Advertising

By Kimberly Adams

Word count: 795


Imagine walking down the street and seeing a giant billboard screen, let’s say of your iconic fast food chain, McDonald’s. Simple right? Now what if that McDonald’s ad was a game played by you and thousands of others at the same time, where you can win a tangible prize and also the prize of connecting with others and becoming iconic as the brand itself.  This is interactive advertising. Interactive advertising is so powerful because it includes you in the process of advertising – the creativity, the engagement, the reaction and the result all within seconds. A good experience is what we all strive to have; There is so much advertising in the world but only some are smart enough to be the most competitive and successful – to be interactive. As explored below, there are three ads that really made a spark, allowing their brand to really shine.

The best kinds of advertisements make you feel included, because as human’s everyone wants to feel included. Exploring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, human’s have a natural need for friendship, family, confidence and achievement among other factors. Interactive advertising targets those needs and takes them to the next level. As a result, consumers buy in to the business, organization or product associated with an ad in exchange for being invited to the interactive experience. Also, they tend to return for more because of the fact that it was a good experience.

A similar concept is the medium of “virtual reality”, as explored in Oliver Grau’s Aesthetic Distance & the Concept of the Work in Processual or Virtual Art. This article explores virtual reality as an experience of “technical, physiological, and psychological mechanisms.” (101) Looking at that formula, it is safe to say that the concept of virtual reality has been integrated among the most genius of marketing and advertising campaigns. Interactive advertising has no boundaries. As we will explore later in this blog, interactive advertising can be found on a billboard, or the cup you use at a party. Grau illustrates virtual reality to also have no boundaries, as a “creation of aesthetics that are no longer bound to physical laws.” (101).

One example is a McDonald’s ad, which allowed consumers to use their smart phone’s to interact with a billboard that served as a giant game of ping-pong. This advertisement allowed anyone walking by to become a part of the advertisement and more: An experience. Not only did they interact with this ad, but they are also interacting with the brand; A brand that you may pass on a day-to-day basis. It was unlikely that any passerby walked past this ad without stopping to question, engage or simply think about. People liked this advertisement because it made them smile, which served as an iconic representation of McDonald’s overall.

A second advertisement to note is the commercial for Budweiser’s “Buddy Cup”. This advertisement took an interaction that consumers commonly participate in – having a good time and making friends. Budweiser thought about how we as individuals form relationships and interact with those around us, which happens to be something as simple as a “cheers”. So, why not make your cheer and instant and effortless interaction? The Buddy Cup connects to Facebook, so that a friend request is sent to the person you are cheering with. It is a simple interaction that we do not even think about – an action that is associated with celebration and accomplishment. This advertisement is so successful because anyone can celebrate the accomplishment of making a new friend, but the buddy cup just makes it more official – “Facebook Official”, that is!

Another example, the “Share a Coke” campaign, has a reputation of being the most genius marketing ever. Coka-Cola realized that 50% of teens and adults in Australia had never tasted a coke. Of course, the only advertising those teens and adults needed was interactive advertising. Coke cans were printed with the iconic brand being replaced with the top 150 popular names in Australia, encouraging consumers to “Share a coke with Kate”, if they knew a Kate. Consumers instantly interacted with this because they were invited to be the most iconic brand in the world; everyone involved was famous. Consumers bought in to submitting new names, voting for the best, personalizing coke cans at kiosks and painting the town one color – red. This was so successful because the brand personally invited you to interact and have a reason to share!

You are encouraged to interact with such advertisements when opportunities arise. Reflecting back on Grau’s article, virtual reality targets the longing to abandon the self. With these advertisements, one can engage in a new world, and exceed expectations. Interactive advertising brings virtual reality to communities and consumers in unexpected ways, making the experience worthwhile.



Grau, Oliver. Aesthetic Distance & The Concept of The Work in Processual or Virtual Art. 2003. Print.

All videos were found on Youtube.

Coka-Cola facts were taken from the Youtube video.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s