Ask.com will launch a national TV campaign Monday showcasing common questions and answers in uncommon themes and unexpected settings to catch the attention of consumers. The ads -- inspired by popular television shows and movies across multiple genres -- pose questions like "What does gluten-free mean?" or "How do fish sleep?”
Takeoffs from old Hollywood to reality TV were shot on actual TV and film sets in Los Angeles, playing on several TV and film genres, such as Western, drama, Elimination, romance and classic. The Wild West spots -- 30 seconds and 15 seconds -- put the focus on a Clint Eastwood lookalike reenacting a shoot-'em-up on a dusty street. The two drama-focused spots play on medical and legal shows, reminding the viewer of familiar scenes from the emergency room and the courtroom.
Ask, supported by parent company InterActiveCorp, will air the ads on network and cable television stations nationwide for six weeks. They lead the viewer to expect a certain question based on the genre, but instead get an everyday question-and-answer. All but two are new. The 15-second spots, which began in fall 2012, will continue to run in cinemas through the end of this year.
Shane McGilloway, Ask COO, said determining success means measuring the ads against controlled markets, year-over-year patterns and pre- and post-campaign changes in the company's business to confirm that the offline marketing, such as TV, remains successful with a positive ROI.
"None of our marketing efforts are aimed at producing short-term spikes in traffic, and our goal is to continue building brand awareness, increase positive impression and perception, as well as long-term brand loyalty," MGilloway said.
"All our offline marketing efforts, including cinema and out-of-home advertising, as well as brand integrations, help build and maintain top-of-mind awareness for Ask as the leading site for answers. It also aims to drive traffic, engagement and user frequency across our entire business."
Ask has been working to increase its presence among consumers. Earlier this month, Ask appointed Susan Morrow vice president of product, to spearhead the company's product evolution to serve answers to questions on multiple types of devices. Morrow served as chief product officer for Reading Rainbow, supporting product development, business leadership and engineering, as well as VP of content for LeapFrog.