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Geico mocks pre-roll ads with crushing amusement

Commentary: You don't want to watch online pre-roll ads. But they're there. How can an advertiser make them more palatable. Geico offers a noble effort.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

A crushing success.

Geico/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Do you close your eyes and count to 30?

Do you mute them?

Do you feel a deep sense of relief when they give you the option of skipping them after 5 seconds?

Pre-roll ads are rarely welcome and often merely serve to turn you off to the advertiser. But advertisers must advertise, because that's what advertising agencies tell them to do.

So auto insurer Geico is trying to make your pre-roll experience not one that makes you pre-roll your eyes.

It's released a number of pre-roll ads that squish the actual ad. Which, if not a public service, at least shows a modicum of sympathy for the viewer.

The ads feature someone waffling on about saving money on car insurance, while the set begins to bear down and, quite literally, crush the ad.

It is, in its very simple way, entertaining. It seems to say: "We know you'd love to be able to take these pre-roll ads and smash them into pieces, so we thought we'd do it for you."

Geico has, for some time now, tried to make this online ad experience vaguely palatable.

A couple of years ago it ran a campaign called "Unskippable," in which it revealed everything about the ad in the first five seconds.

The strain of concocting some new way of not annoying viewers to high heaven must be considerable.

Sometimes, all a real human being wants is for an advertiser's heart to be in the right place.

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