Home Commercials As Content – 7 Places to Watch Ads On Purpose

Commercials As Content – 7 Places to Watch Ads On Purpose

Ah ads, nobody likes ads. Especially ads that postpone your enjoyment of some media — that’s why 70% of people using TiVo to timeshift television are also skipping the commercials. But there is one time each year when commercials take center stage. That’s right, the Super Bowl. Every time the world’s most watched yearly one day sporting event rolls around, people seem to forget their hatred of television advertising — sometimes the high priced TV spots are more talked about than even the game itself.

And there are plenty of places to watch Super Bowl ads. There’s the aptly named SuperBowl-Ads.com. There are the specialized channels on iFilm, AOL Sports, YouTube, and CBS Sportsline. But what about all the ads that get made the rest of the year? They’re funny too, right?

Never fear, there is a growing breed of sites dedicated solely to TV ads as content. Below are 7 places you can go to get your commercial watching fix.

Firebrand, which launched a couple of weeks ago, is one of the newest entries to the advertising as content space. It is a curated collection of what its editors consider to be the creme-de-la-creme of television advertising. Firebrand sports one of the slickest interfaces of the bunch, and users can rate, download or embed commercials. The site was a little glitchy at times for me, in Firefox, though.

American television network TBS created Very Funny Ads to promote its yearly round up of the world’s funniest television advertisements. They realized that the annual special’s popularity could translate into a continuous source of revenue in the form of a web site. So far, it seems to be working. Many of the site’s top ads have hundreds of thousands of views, with the most popular clocking half a million. Those aren’t YouTube numbers, but for a niche video site, that’s impressive — especially considering videos from the site can’t be embedded elsewhere.

AdForum has a huge selection of over 75,000 ads from over 20,000 different agencies. It is not the slickest site, but their library is certainly impressive. Unfortunately, not all of their content is available for free (some is behind a rather pricey subscription wall), and there is much to be desired from their player (which pops up in a Javascript lightbox, is Windows Media based, and doesn’t allow rating or embedding — at least not for free clips). To be fair, the site targets ad professionals and students (i.e., those studying advertising), and not the general public.

Visit4Info is a huge television advertisement repository focused on British commercials. Their library has over 47,000 TV ads from the UK. Ads can be rated, downloaded, or embedded, and the site also operates a paid, members-only site that includes more information for ad professionals. Careful, not all of the ads here are safe for work — but then, is watching TV ads at work really ever safe? (Excepting for those who work at an advertising firm…)

YouTube certainly isn’t focused on TV ads, but there are a ton of them on the site. The catch is that you have to search for them specifically (hint: try searching by brand or product). YouTubers have often expressed frustration whenever Google has tried to push ads on the site, but just check out this search for Sony Bravia to see just how popular ads on YouTube can be — many of these ads have a few hundred thousand views.

AdCriticCreativity is an online magazine about the ad industry that takes the place of the old AdCritic site, which is where I remember watching TV ads online in the late 90s. Their AdCritic section still houses an impressive repository of TV, print, and interactive advertising. Their ads are posted at a higher quality than many of the other sites in this roundup (example), and members can rate and review them.

Have a hankering from some old school advertising? Retrojunk has your back with an archive of classic TV commercials from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Who could forget the infamous Where’s the Beef? ad, for example? Retrojunk isn’t the easiest site to get around, but users are encouraged to rate ads by whether they remember them or not, so the most memorable are easier to locate.

Bonus Site

The most frustrating part of ads is not always just having to sit through them, sometimes it’s hearing a great song, getting it stuck in your head, and then not being able to figure out what it is. Enter AdTunes, a massive forum community where people discuss the music used in television advertisements. This site has lead me to such gems as “Noah’s Arkestra” by Mountains in the Sky a song used in NBA Finals commercials a few years ago (actually, you can watch it yourself).

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