’s Ad Pod Traps Viewers ‘Lobster Lore’

NEW YORK Earlier this fall, the Discovery Channel made its first foray into the somewhat murky waters of what has come to be known as pod-busting, a catchall for the creative executions networks are experimenting with to keep viewers tuned in during commercials. Just before a break during a premiere episode of Lobster Wars, viewers were asked to ponder the size of the largest sea-dwelling arthropod on record, a query sponsored by

Heading out of the break, Discovery hit viewers with the answer: 44 pounds, 6 ounces; and 3 feet, 6 inches long.

Other “Lobster Lore” executions followed suit, and Discovery and its client were pleased by the impact the gimmick had on viewers. According to IAG Research data, 72 percent of adults 25-54 who saw the executions recalled the messaging the following day. In the absence of “Lobster Lore,” recall was 44 percent.

What’s more, 35 percent of the IAG respondents said they found to be “likeable” after viewing the executions, nearly tripling the positive feedback the spots earned alone. “While it’s a work in progress, the numbers look positive,” said Discovery ad sales president Joe Abruzzese.

What’s interesting about Abruzzese’s lobster trap is that, in the third quarter, Discovery retained 93 percent of its target demo in prime time once the conversion from live numbers was factored in, according to MediaVest C3 data. The average for ad-supported cable nets in the same period was 94 percent.

“I think if we can design pods that are stickier, we can get to 95 percent, 96 percent,” Abruzzese said. “You have to switch it up to keep things fresh, but we’re game.”