Foursquare’s ‘Omicron’ ad format is a great way to save the world

Written by By Rizalynn Cherrix, CNN

Foursquare Labs, a digital advertising platform specializing in personalized ads, has created a version of “world-class premium content” that is designed for use on the Real Channel , the vernacular communication tool for certain brands like Tesla.

Calling this experience “aperture branding” — as Foursquare describes it — the demo features the interstitial messaging appearing a space or two after users have navigated through the “real” content of the service.

“Foursquare is not a platform for advertising, we’re a platform for content,” said Candice Rivière, director of creative content at Foursquare, at the company’s SXSW presentation on Wednesday.

The creative effort has been created in partnership with Tesla (a brand with a long history of social outcries over advertising), as well as the E-Trade Financial company, Chili’s, Los Angeles Dodgers and Universal Music Group. The only brands left on the list are Alienware, 3M and Timberland.

– Read “Yes, these are ads. Just a little bit of good old-fashioned, premium brand content is likely to save the world,” by: Rizalynn Cherrix

Omicron: A virtual experience of Tesla’s underground battery plant in Portugal

What we know about the “Omicron”

This is the first time that a brand has started to promote this concept in real time. Previously, Foursquare has offered its clients a bespoke program so they can identify the right subject matter that they’re using in their ads and create ads that are unique to that type of content.

The customized services are often only offered to large brands — like McDonald’s, which takes up about 10% of the service — and they typically result in a very curated message for that particular client that will be able to tap into not only the brand’s value, but also the consumers’.

For instance, Foursquare recently created a unique public service announcement (PSA) for Taco Bell’s newest mobile order service, Tender Melt. While it’s advertised to be a promotion for the most recent Taco Bell menu addition, it is actually the tech brand’s rebranding of its taco truck that was previously serving the fast food chain. Taco Bell has since dropped the truck.

“The Taco Bell Taco trucks (and other branded trucks) have been around forever, but to create a series of PSAs that are specifically made for the brand and that tell a truly special, memorable experience, has to be a task that can only be accomplished with a little bit of cutting edge creativity,” says Rivière.

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