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CNN to Debut Live Ads During Solar Eclipse

Volvo will run live ads during CNN’s coverage of the solar eclipse. While the spots will run on CNN’s live stream of the Aug. 21 eclipse on its digital and social properties, this marks the cable news giant’s effort to make live ad formats available to marketers across its platforms, including TV, moving forward.

CNN’s brand studio Courageous will station four cameras in different locations around the country where they will film influencers in the fields of science, space and history giving their perspective on the significance of the eclipse as it happens. The influencers — Richard Wiese, president of the Explorers Club; Andy Weir, author of “The Martian;” Kara Cooney, an Egyptologist and astronaut Cady Coleman — will arrive at the eclipse viewing location in a 2018 Volvo XC60. The cars will be equipped with 4K VR and 360-degree cameras to help capture the commercial.

Live ads are certainly not new and have their origins in the early days of the small screen. But networks have been experimenting more with the format in recent years as they look to engage viewers who are skipping commercials or watching content on platforms where there are none.

Most recently, Snickers ran a live spot starring Adam Driver during this year’s Super Bowl, while NBC aired live commercials from Oreo and Toyota during its broadcast of “Hairspray Live” in December.

Moving forward, CNN’s Courageous studio plans to shoot more live ads for marketers, said Michal Shapira, senior VP-news content partnerships, Turner Ignite.

TV networks and marketers are expected to make a big push around the solar eclipse, the first one in 99 years. The Weather Channel is incorporating augmented reality in its coverage of the eclipse and will be at sea with Royal Caribbean and on an Alaska Airline flight that will be following the eclipse.

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