Advertisements This weekend, I experienced for the first time TiVos "fast-forward" ad placement. If you haven't seen it yet, you will. It was fast-forwarding through a set of commercials, one of which was by American Express Card. As the ad fast-forwarded, a solid banner appeared in the middle of the fast-forwarding image (along with an innocuous beep), prompting me to click the green thumbs-up button for more information. I was amazed, and frankly not sure what I had just seen. So I did exactly what the designers of this ad placement hoped I'd do. I rewound and watched the ad at regular speed, waiting to see the pop-up again (which does not appear when the ad is played at regular speed). So I rewound again, and tried fast forwarding through the ad again to trigger the pop-up. In fact I rewound a number of times just to see if the pop-up was triggered at each of the 3 fast-forward speeds. It was. Of course, I clicked the thumbs-up button just to see where Tivo took me, then how Tivo returned me to the recorded program. I realize that there are many out there that despise advertising in any form (especially on Tivo), but I think we have to give Tivo credit for the brilliance of this ad placement and the technology behind it. First, why this ad placement is truly brilliant. Nowhere else in the Tivo experience is the user paying more attention to whats on the screen than when they are fast-forwarding through commercials. Why? Because they want to resume normal playback speed exactly at the right moment. Admit it. Some of us (men) pride ourselves that we can hit that Play button at the exact right moment (even during the fastest of the fast-forward speeds) so that playback resumes after all the commercials are over. In fact, we quickly grab the remote from someone else (like my wife) when we discover they're not particularly good at this. So here I am, precisely monitoring hyper-commercials on the screen as they fast-forward before my eyes at blazing speed, when all of a sudden I hear a beep and see a persistent message on the screen that I can actually read. It pops up for a moment (long enough to register the brief message in my brain) then disappears again. I was stunned. After thinking through this, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of the placement. It even more impressive if TiVo is able to track various types of these impressions; e.g., the number of initial impressions triggered, the number of repeat impressions triggered (i.e., when I rewind, only to fast-forward again to catch the pop-up), and of course the number of thumbs-up click-throughs. I gotta hand it to whoever came up with this one. It will be intriguing to learn how successful it will be over time, however I think that TiVo may just have turned the dread of the DVR in the advertising industry (ignored commercials) into one of the most effective ad placements of all time. Now, those fast-forwarded commercials are an advertiser's opportuity. Its brilliant, and should receive an advertising industry award.