So now it has come to this? College students are paid to watch ads.
It's become a marketing mantra: The 18-to-24-year-old demographic is tough to reach. Just what appeals to elusive collegiate trendsetters is anyone's guess. But one thing's for sure–they like cash.
BrandPort is counting on it. So far, the newly launched Danville, Va.-based firm has lured a few thousand students from more than 60 campuses across the country to get paid to watch ads via the Internet. To attract registrants, the company is placing ads in local papers, hiring students to spread the word about the commercial-watching opportunity, and marketing nationally through email.
"We just sent out our first payment to the students," says Kivin Varghese, founder and CEO of BrandPort. "To students, there's nothing better than cash in the bank." Viewers are paid via PayPal between $0.25 and $0.50 for each ad, depending on the length and format. Choosing the college kid demo as the company's initial target made sense to Varghese. Besides being a slippery bunch, they're at the stage during which brand loyalties are formed. And since they congregate on and around campus, college students also are "relatively easy to find." Plus, he notes: "They all have broadband, so streaming TV ads isn't an issue."
The firm's goal isn't real testing ads, but rather, target marketing. With the barrage of ads we face each day, and the ability to tune them out via pop-up blockers or fast-forwarding the Tivo, this seems like a pretty good idea.