F. Böhmak, Th. Grandoch, J. Schumann, M. Holtbecker (v.l.) Foto: Philipp Reisberg
Advertising is as integral to a product as electric current is to the light bulb. So said German advertising expert Charles Paul Wilp. But what happens if the light bulb has electricity but no light switch to turn it on and off? This question is also on the minds of Thomas Grandoch (30), Marc Holtbecker (30) and Jens Schumann (28). However, their light bulb is the internet and its electricity is classic TV advertising. The trio wondered how these two worlds, which still seemed to be strictly separate from each other, could be brought together. Or, more straightforwardly: how could you get people to buy the shoes on the internet that they have just seen in a TV advert? A switch was needed – and they found exactly this with their company Tvib (pronounced more or less as spelt). The overall process is known as TV alerts. It is based on a simple idea that is technically difficult to implement: a kind of alarm is to be used to enable advertisers to adapt their websites with absolute precision. Shoes that just appeared in a TV advert are promoted just a few seconds later on the website – in the very top spot.
„Television is like a black box,“ explains Thomas Grandoch, who studied social and business communication at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). While a lot of money is invested in TV advertising, none of the advertisers knows exactly when their ad is running and what effect it has. On the internet, on the other hand, the companies can call up every key figure such as page views and number of clicks in detail. Investigations have shown that these figures rise after a particular TV ad is aired. Sometimes they even multiply. This is the point at which the company founded at the end of 2012 gets involved. At the start of this year, Tvib was able to present the relevant technology, ready for the market. „The technology was a real problem. Because it required an extremely sophisticated algorithm,“ explains Thomas Grandoch.
What are known as „watcherholics“ are on duty around the clock for this purpose. This is the pet name the three company founders have for their powerful servers. At present, they are in the cellar of the UdK on Einsteinufer, where the young company also has its offices. The servers scan the TV channels, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As soon as a particular advert is aired, the servers send a signal – known as a TV alert. The advertisers can then update their websites within a few seconds, start discount campaigns and release banner or search engine advertising. „For this purpose, every advert is assigned a kind of fingerprint,“ the company founder explains. Around 30 free TV and pay TV channels are presently being scanned in this way. And the light bulb is glowing.