Posted May 13, 2013 6:54 pm by with 1 comment

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skype proposalBuying and selling advertising space isn’t very entertaining. It’s all facts and figures, boxes and percentages – it’s boring. Sorry, ad sellers, it is. . . but it doensn’t have to be.

Microsoft UK set aside the facts and figures in favor of a sweet, animated video series called a SkypeOpera. These digital shorts use storytelling to show how effective advertising on Skype can be. The current series is called Skype: The Proposal. It’s a five-part series featuring Charlie and Lizzie. Charlie wants to create an amazing proposal experience but things never go as planned.

In each episode, the couple uses Skype to get in touch with each other and with friends. Along the way, they encounter all the different types of Skype advertising. Each ad is perfectly tailored to their current situation (of course) and contrived though it may be, it’s still a solid example of how Skype ads can work for your business.

In the first episode, Charlie and Lizzie are having a video chat about meeting up for dinner. While they talk, an ad for 10% off flowers fills the right side of Charlie’s screen. Perfect. He clicks it and orders flowers for his girl then makes an early break from work. As he waits for Lizzie to arrive, his best friend pings him via Skype mobile to warn him that their boss is looking for him. Oops, too late – now Charlie has to choose between his girl and his career!

What’s fun is how seamlessly Skype and the ads fit into the storyline. If you click through to the accompanying data sheet, you’ll find that most Skype conversations last more than 30 minutes, 50% of Skype users log on at least twice a week and they say it’s a more personalized experience than Facebook. That’s why the ads have a 37.1% lift in purchase intent.

Skype OperaIn the third episode, Lizzie uses a unique type of ad called a Group Calling Voucher to video chat with five friends at once. Currently, if you want to video chat with more than one person, you have to have a pro account.

With the Group Calling Voucher, a Skype user sees an ad offering this service free for one week. The user types in their name and Skype ID and they receive a branded voucher that allows them to call for free.

This is cool. Imagine you run a bridal salon. You could give the bride a Group Call Voucher so she can call all of her bridesmaids to discuss the wedding. It’s a neat idea.

The takeaway here is that a little creativity goes a long way. By using animated storytelling, Microsoft gets their point across more effectively than any chart full of numbers. After you watch these videos, you’ll see how Skype advertising makes sense. It’s relevant and intuitive and hey. . . the videos are just plain cute.

If you’re a Skype user, you’ll also get a kick out of the use of the Skype sound effects in the video. They’re so realistic I went to my Skype box to see who was calling! Charlie, if Lizzie turns you down, let’s talk!

You can watch the full series at

  • Guy Harris

    I like it, mainly as I am the voice of Charlie