Firebrand – All Ads, All The Time

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Firebrand recently launched with a relatively new business model: Broadcast all advertisements, all the time, but only display the ones that the company deems creative and interesting. Today, we take a look at the new service.
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Go to Firebrand.com, which is currently still in beta, and your screen will automatically begin displaying ads. An elegant crossbar underneath the video displays several brands, all of which probably paid for premium placement on the front page. Clicking on the video screen brings you to their main control screen, which is moderately similar to Youtube’s interface. On the left side of the screen you can sort ads by genre and, of course, by brand.
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As far as I can tell, the ads play continuously and are structured similarly to an actual television channel, but with the interactivity that the web permits. In between certain ads, an attractive actress/model/spokesperson comes on to discuss the creators behind some of the ads and to tell you about Firebrand-related events.
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The design, overall, is elegant and sleek but its heavy use of flash led to some slowdown on my machine (at least when compared to youtube). However, it’s easy to download and embed Firebrand videos, and they look great on any blog:

The big question is what unique purpose does Firebrand serve in the ever-growing web video game? I can certainly see a space where Firebrand is a repository for extremely creative ads that you can’t find anywhere else, but unfortunately most of the ads that are there can already be found on Youtube, albeit with potentially lower quality. Perhaps more significantly, two of my favorite commercials of all time turned up blank searches on Firebrand, but were easily findable on Youtube:

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In its current, and perhaps future, state, Firebrand serves as a nice diversion but not necessarily somewhere you’d want to spend hours of your day (there’s a reason we eagerly await commercial breaks to be over, even if the commercials are great). Even if Firebrand grows to fulfill its initial promise by expanding its “library” of ads, it’s not clear that there will be enough of a reason for people to enjoy company-sponsored video ads when they can enjoy them more easily elsewhere. Nonetheless, I do give them credit for putting together a pretty great catalog of commercials with lots of meta-data (e.g. director, ad agency, etc.) readily available. It’s worth a look, but it’ll have to do something more if it wants to compete with the giants in this space.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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