Interactive online ads are gradually becoming a standard format for many agencies looking to increase the all-important consumer engagement metric.

Set against this, TV advertising is seen as uni-directional and less immersive – something for an older demographic. So it’s interesting to see Ed Sheeran finishing off his month-long campaign (see Behind the Campaign in sandbox last issue) with an ‘interactive’ TV ad. The advert (technically two) features Sheeran first asking viewers to nominate via social media which track the singer should perform during the next ad break. The song with the most social interaction is then featured for the entire duration of the next break.


“If you are going to spend all that money on a TV ad you might as well do it in a way that is going to be engaging, out of the ordinary and that speaks to values of his audience in terms of the social connections.” Says Jack Melhuish at Atlantic.


Sam Smith was also recently featured in a TV ad, in which a live track was cut into the full ad break during Alan Carr’s Chatty man show on the UK’s Channel 4 network. It pulled a live stream from a Roundhouse gig, but unlike the Sheeran promotion had no interactive element. “The point to [the Sheeran] ad is that there is an interactive element and the viewer can decide what track he plays. The performance is much closer. It is him, alone, in a studio in one take and one continuous shot. It is the viewer and Ed” says Melhuish. Sheeran’s extended album campaign has certainly proved successful, with a number on spot on the Official UK Charts, and the fastest-selling UK album of 2014. After Sheeran’s Glastonbury performance the singer-songwriter has also managed to break a Spotify record, being the most streamed album in the UK ever in one week and having a 195% increase in streams.

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