140Fire, which slaps interactive advertisements like polls on streaming video, announced that it is launching today at the Launch Conference in San Francisco.
The advertisements pop up like most other advertisements do on videos — as a small bar at the bottom of the video. But instead of linking viewers to a different site, the advertisement features a poll or a number of questions that viewers can answer as they continue watching the video.
For example, a Greygoose Vodka ad would pop up during a scene on Mad Men that features cocktails. Viewers can answer a few quick questions and get a suggestion about which drink — which naturally features Greygoose Vodka — they should make. The advertisement also shows which of the viewer’s Facebook friends have taken the poll and what drinks the advertisement suggested to them.
140Fire can also deliver some more targeted advertising post-roll advertisements based on the polls that appear in the video. If an advertisement pops up that asks the viewer what kind of car they prefer, the post-roll will be an advertisement that features the car they selected. The idea is to deliver more targeted post-roll advertisements that — again — don’t link back to another site but still get the point across.
The company can also slap advertisements and polls onto live video streams like ESPN3, which features live sports events. 140Fire users can modify the polls and advertisements in real time as well — so they can tailor the advertisements to the specific sporting event. For example, a 140Fire user can modify a poll to ask how many free throws a player will make when they step to the line.
That seems like it’s the best application of the technology, said All Things D’s Kara Swisher, who was an adviser at the Launch Conference. She said the advertisements would also go well with other live events like American Idol — but they probably wouldn’t be welcome on sites like Hulu, where the content is static.
140Fire also features an analytics dashboard that shows what demographics accessed the advertisement and what kind of answers they chose. The respondents are broken down into age range, whether they are male or female, and a number of other specific demographics. The site doesn’t work with YouTube yet, though they are in talks with the company.
It looks like 140Fire is a graduate of Y Combinator’s winter 2010 class. It was originally called 140bets. Mark Cuban, Robert Kraft and Skip Paul have all invested in 140Fire.