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Ad Agencies Seek Ways to Embrace DVRs

Business Week reports that if TV ads are the media equivalent of mosquitoes, then the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is a bug zapper on steroids.

Rather than merely wringing their hands, however, ad agencies are now experimenting with the technology itself to see if DVRs can draw consumers into a deeper involvement with ads. Next month, Sony Corporation will begin running ads for its Bravia flat-panel TVs that let viewers, if they have TiVo, choose among different endings whether they're watching live TV or a recorded program.

Five seconds into the commercial, two on-screen choices appear -- one aimed at men and one at women. A menu of "male" endings revolves around picture quality and size, and the "female" options focus on the TV's aesthetics. Conventional ads may be under fire, says Brad Brinegar, CEO of agency McKinney & Silver LLC in Durham, N.C., which is creating the Bravia campaign, but smart use of interactive TV could bring about an advertising renaissance.

"If you provide viewers with a worthwhile experience, they'll absolutely stay engaged," he says, "and if you don't, you'll die an expensive, painful death."

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