May 18

So for anyone with free time who is looking for an interesting business to build, this is a service I want:

A structured online collection of magazine print ads that allows you to see how the ads have evolved over time.

I wrote this idea up and submitted it to Cambrian House last week and it should be competing in their tournament this week. Think of all the ads that have been created over the years and the amount of thought that went into each one. Then consider that the agencies work with the vendors to refine the ads over time to improve their performance. There are huge lessons locked away in pages of these magazines that are waiting to mined if only the ads were available in a sorted format that allowed the viewer to easily track their evolution.

We’re in the early stages of planning our print ad campaigns for JumpBox and we’re trawling through a bunch of magazine ads from various tech zines to see which ones run consistently and how they change from issue to issue. The premise is that the ads that run consistently are the effective ones and the changes to campaigns that stick are improvements. It’s a tedious process though and there’s clearly an opportunity from someone to turn this into a web-based research service. It seems like it would even be possible to make it “iStockPhoto-like” in that you could have users claim a magazine and then scan, categorize and submit the ads and earn a percentage of the subscription revenue generated given how frequently those are viewed by paying subscribers. Or the ironic alternative is that the revenue model could become ad-supported.

Does a service like this exist already? If not, who wants to build it?

One Response to “Free business idea: Advolution”

  1. Sounds like a very interesting idea. Gives me two thoughts.

    1. If someone were to create a comprehensive database of print-ad evolution I could envision an exit strategy that involved acquisition / partnership with Advertising Age.

    2. Could the same data be gleaned from A.A already? Don’t they release a yearly (or quarterly) analysis of campaign recall rates.

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