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Why Spot Runner May Be Revolutionary

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24, 2006

I like Umair Haque’s take on the real reason why Spot Runner is revolutionary—or could be. This is the new outfit, still in beta, that lets local businesses buy generic but easily customizable ads to run in very targeted local TV markets. Says Umair:

“The indivisibility of ads has suddenly been vaporized. It’s not just that anyone can buy them - when you buy an ad on Spotrunner, you’re really buying several rebundled, microchunked goods - so it’s that the ad itself has been redefined…. Spotrunner can be hyperefficient not just because it allows access to buying distribution online, but because it microchunks ads, letting them be rebundled - and so reused….”

At the same time, he adds:

“To me, the most interesting part of Spotrunner is that they’ve totally missed the biggest opportunity that currently exists to disrupt advertising, and that’s easily within their grasp. It’s not distribution, or the microchunking of generic ads…I’ll leave it to you to guess (hint: think edge competencies).”

I’m still trying to catch up with Umair here (and many other places, for that matter), but I wonder if he means a hyperlocal version of ads like this one that customers themselves could create.

Update: Pete Cashmore already has the same idea.

Reader Comments

Blake Perdue

January 30, 2006 11:44 PM

What were you hinting at that Spot Runner missed? To me, its a great idea, but they're bound to get squashed by the larger players, especially as Google is entering this industry. Spot Runner's only advantage is their library, which isn't much to build a business around.


September 9, 2006 10:32 PM produced a custom made commercial and aired it nationally for me for less than high-tech Spotrunner charged for local airings. Spotrunner would not let me air nationally or let me have a web version of my ad. Very interesting. should buy Spotrunner and really shake up the TV and web ad world.


October 1, 2006 9:15 PM

Spot Runner is not worth it.
It is too generic and the voice talent is horrible. Someone's Master's thesis gone aground.
Must have looked good on paper.


October 12, 2006 12:26 PM

The opportunity is in the customization and localization of ads. Distribution is important, but imagine a "dashboard" interface that could cheaply allow the individual or small business to create its professional ad much like a web publisher creates a "what you see is what you get" web page. Take it a step further and imagine being able to create the same ad but customized to whatever zip code or area code your ad is appearing. I know of one company called Visible World ( that has created this cool technology for cable advertising. I believe it is being used by large players such as United Airlines and some automakers. When this type of service becomes available for the little guy over other mediums besides cable television, traditional advertising agencies will be in big trouble.


January 4, 2007 5:10 PM

Localized advertising is LiveTechnology's niche. They have a new product, LiveAdMaker, that plugs into over 21 forms of media.
It enables Corporate Brands and Franchises to control brand controlled advertising, media spend, campaigns and quality. For the first time, it empowers the local marketer to create completely localized, Madison Ave quality avertising.

Kunal Pack

September 5, 2007 4:39 PM

I agree with James, this is a great idea. I found this exact service at They let you choose video, music, images and even upload your own images to make your own commercial from scratch. You even get to assemble your own virtual edit online. Really impressive and my commercial turned out great. They are just a small company so I'm trying to spread the word, they are definitely a Spot Runner killer.


March 13, 2008 1:53 PM

I agree with Susan - we use the LiveTechnology creative versioning solution called LiveAdMaker across our 732 retail outlets and it has worked tremendously. Our retailers have increased their marketing volume across online, print and TV by 32%, and same store sales have grown 27% in just over 2 years. And our creative/studio fees are down over 70%.

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