- Google is extensively promoting YouTube TV during the MLB World Series currently in progress, including with a two-minute ad spot that featured live footage and ran before the first pitch of game, according to a report from Ad Age.
- The ad built on live commentary from the broadcast, seguing from the booth discussion into the ad with a camera view that zoomed out from on-field footage to a TV in a living room featuring the same actual live footage from the stadium. YouTube TV is a World Series sponsor and will run at least two 30-second ads along with 6-second ads during each game. YouTube TV also had in-stadium signage in prominent camera view for the first two games in Los Angeles.
- The live footage was a gambit to keep viewers from tuning out at the beginning of the commercial break. Ad Age pointed out Tide had a Super Bowl LI ad this year that seemed to include live footage in front of game commentators, but was actually a mock up that had been pre-shot.
Including live footage in a TV spot is one way to grab the attention of viewers who are known to tune out during commercials. The stunt likely kept a number of ad production and creative crew up at night thinking about the ways things could go wrong. TV spots, in particular, are known for being meticulously crafted to the tiniest detail so leaving everything from a technical glitch to a production issue to chance was a risk for Google. At the same time, people have become accustomed to live feeds from brands on digital channels, and given the ad is for a digital streaming TV option for standard cable or satellite TV the creative choice makes sense.
Despite the challenges and risks inherent in live TV ads, the payoff can be worth it. Earlier this year, Snickers generated 1.5B organiic impressions with a live TV ad during the Super Bowl in which the cast and crew kept making mistakes.
Google first announced YouTube TV in March as its entry into over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming services that compete with paid TV. The space is somewhat crowded with paid satellite TV providers DirecTV and Dish both offering digital “skinny bundles” to go along with other OTT options. Google is banking on the massive stage of the World Series giving YouTube TV's brand recognition a big boost. Innovative advertising, such as incorporating live footage into the spot, won’t hurt that goal.