A day or two after I joined First Round, back in October, I ran into Ari Jacoby at the Ace Hotel. I had just finished reading “Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom.” Needless to say, how the brain works and how it interprets messages was on my mind—especially around the ones we want to keep there, like education and in this case, branding.
So when Ari told me about SolveMedia, it resonated deeply with me. It was simple: Take something we hate about the web—annoying captchas—and replace it with something that is easier for the user and provides an advertiser with a great opportunity for engagement. You see, we remember things when we actually force our brain to process something through a thought exercise. It doesn’t actually have to be deep thought—just enough that all the right neurons are actually paying attention. That’s why you always remember names that are more difficult. When you meet someone and they tell you their name is Mary, you forget it two seconds later. Introduce yourself as a “Ruxy” and while they might screw it up, they’ll always remember and get close—because they have to think about it.
It was one of the first times that I can think of where a more memorable brand experience on the web was actually *less* painful to the user—unless you count that time Doritos made the boxing ring with the punching chips. Stuff like that isn’t scalable, though—nor does it have the kind of measurable recall analytics that Solve is producing. These kinds of campaigns are scalable, measureable, and the efficacy are off the charts so far.
I’m excited that First Round is an investor in Solve and hope that these guys become so successful that I never have to look cross eyed at another captcha again. If you’re using these things, please, please swap them out. I’d much rather type in “500 Million Friends” in an ad for The Social Network than try to figure out whether that purple squiggly is an “r” or an “n”.
Check out their cool video explaining what they do, too…