I stopped watching TV when Breaking Bad decided to go on a yearlong break seven months ago, so I hadn’t heard of these new podbuster commercials until NPR ran a story on them this morning.

Call it smart advertising — or bad boundaries. You may have noticed a spike in the number of TV commercials designed to look and feel like whatever show you’re watching. They’re called podbusters, DVR busters or interstitial ads, and they’re designed to remove viewers’ fingers from the fast-forward button during blocks — or “pods” — of ads.

Basically, companies are creating ads that look like the TV show they are being aired during, in an effort to stop people from fast-forwarding through them thanks to DVR. Sometimes they’ll include actor look-a-likes and sometimes the real actors will be in the commercials. Check out a Vaseline podbuster ad created to fit in with Mad Men here.

Mike Rosen, an executive with the media agency Starcom USA, says effective podbusters don’t just make you stop to watch a commercial you might have skipped. They drive you online to interact with the shows you’re watching and the companies that are sponsoring them.


And where should this online traffic be directed to? A landing page or microsite created specifically for the campaign of course!

If you’re already spending the money to create such personalized commercials, why not go the extra step and create a matching web experience.

As I said in my post, Why Traditional Media Needs Landing Pages Too, while airtime and character space are often limited in traditional advertisements, it seems like a huge missed opportunity to leave the (landing page) URL out. By carefully selecting a URL to send viewers to, you can begin measuring (at least partially) the effectiveness of your traditional media spend.

Sending viewers to your home page or a product page will make it hard to track if the viewers came from your traditional media or not, but by using a landing page you’re one step closer to demonstrating the ROI for your formerly faith-based advertisement.

Make it easy for viewers to seamlessly go from the commercial to the conversion point. You have mere seconds to capture their attention online before the show starts again and your ad is forgotten. Get them from point A to point B as fast as possible!

I’m looking forward to seeing the Breaking Bad podbusters this summer. Wonder what they’re going to have Mr. White selling.