NOTE FROM THE EDITORS – Before reading this interview, we strongly encourage you to check out some of the Click-and-Buy Demos by clicking here.
One might argue that the undeniable quality of an entrepreneur is to pinpoint a product missing in society and to consequently develop it. If that is the case, then David and Charles Shaughnessy are on the BR!NK of developing a “click and buy” solution that will revolutionize the way viewers consume TV shows and approach advertising. Best known respectively for their careers as executive producer of “The Young and the Restless” for thirteen years and as the iconic Maxwell Sheffield in “The Nanny,” those two brothers have recently been stepping out of their comfort zones. This technology allows users to click anything on the screen during a TV show or movie (be it a piece of clothing or furniture) and have direct access to that item, as well as the possibility of purchasing it directly. Does it sound better than sitting idly while watching soporific advertisements? Of course. Is this idea likely to spread like wildfire and validate David and Charles as brilliant businessmen? You bet.
Before we jump right in your “click and buy” concept, could you give our readers some general background information?
Charles: I am Charles, the older brother by a smidgen born and raised in London.
David: And I am David, the younger brother by a smidgen. [laughs]
Charles: We have both been working in the entertainment industry for quite some time. David went on to direct and produce while I did soaps and nighttime TV. Recently, we have been trying to find a niche between entertainment and commerce, which is why we came up with our concept.
Can you tell us a little more about it?
David: In 2004, we started working with a technology company that had developed an online revenue-solution called Hyperspots. We decided to merge our experience in the media with their technology.
Charles: We created an online lifestyle fashion called “2 Chix Who Love Stuff.” The girls would interview designers, and everything in the video was clickable. As you’re watching the video and you like that handbag or that jewelry, a thumbnail pops up. If you click, that takes you straight to the actual page where you can buy that shirt from The Gap online.
David: In this age of constant advertising, this puts the control absolutely in the hands of the consumer. It’s his or her decision to click on anything. Just like in a store where you take something off the shelf! This could also lead to uninterrupted viewing. The regular way of forcing ads on viewers is often a waste of time because the percentage of people actually interested is very small. The people clicking on the shirt in our videos are already invested in the product.
This is amazing. However, one of the negative consequences of such a platform could be that advertisers will pay producers to incorporate certain products in the videos…
David: Well, of course, product placement already exists as a very popular way of putting products in front of audiences inside entertainment. This technology “switches on” that product so that it is easily and immediately available to the viewer. The whole dynamic is invisible and subtle: we don’t want to interrupt the viewing experience with a lot of flashing lights, “pop-ups” and “ click-here” signs. We strongly feel that the producers of content will not want it to be touched. We want to maintain the purity of the art, of course.
Charles: Our idea often gets lumped into a new form of advertising, but it’s really a new form of online retail. It literally allows you to pull a shopping card through that video. It’s not really advertising. Plus, if you like the content itself, you can take the embed code, paste it onto your own page and the “clickability” goes with it… In a very short time, that particular content that is shelf-spaced becomes virally spread around the world. You can see how very quickly an episode of Sex And The City coded like this with the Manolo Blanicks being watched all around the world is going to be generating a lot of sales.
How can Daily BR!NK readers have access to some sample videos?
Charles: We will be launching a new online show soon called The Daily Douglas, but until then you can see some unofficial demos on our website, busstop31.com.
Do you think that consumers will easily adapt to such a new form of watching content?
David: Absolutely. I think that a paradigm shift is likely to happen, where viewers will become educated about this very interactive way of watching videos.
Charles: I’ll go even further by saying that sometime in the near future, we will get frustrated if we can’t click on something as we are watching it. If you look at children, they are already experts with the iPad and all sorts of tactile gadgets.
This question might seem silly, but why hasn’t this brilliant project been fully launched and executed yet?
David: Unfortunately, advertising companies are not fond of a new way of promoting products like the one we developed. However, it will ultimately be up to the consumers to shift gears and endorse our idea.
What projects are you working on right now?
Charles: We are developing this new show called the The Daily Douglas, which we’re hoping to have ready by the end of the year. The webisodes features fashion reporter Kym Douglas, who does segments on Ellen; she’s wonderful and very funny. People will write in about fashion/beauty problems so she will always be giving advice interactively.
David: We are also introducing the “click and buy” concept to the new soap called The Bay.
How can Daily BR!NK readers contribute to your success?
David: Definitely keep an eye out for our projects! The shows we mentioned will air before the end of the year, and you should be there to watch them. You can also familiarize yourself with the concept of “click and buy” by looking at the sample videos on our site.