CANNES — TV ads aren’t as effective as they could be online because viewers instinctively want to be able to exert choices over otherwise passive content. That’s according to an ad exec whose company enables that functionality.

“We have incredible budgets for television commercials. What we haven’t really seen is incredible production budgets for digital advertising,” according to true[X] co-founder and COO David Levy. “The reason is because no-one pays attention to it today.

true[X] rewards viewers for interacting with ads, in between TV shows viewed online, by showing them fewer ads overall. Late last year, the company sold to 21st Century Fox for $200 million.

“Instead of just automatically rolling to those five or six spots, we prompt the user with a choice in their ad experience – either to engage with a brand (click to initiate a rich-media experience), or you can just watch your normal five to six 30-second spots,” Levy adds.

He is talking about attentional shift, in which so-called “endogenous” attention is shifted voluntarily toward a given stimulus whereas “exogenous” attention merely passively engages with oncoming stimuli.

“When we create that choice, it’s one of the most important factors in creating quality attention,” Levy says. “It’s an attention transfer … something you choose to do. If you choose … your cognition for a message goes way through the roof.”

We interviewed Levy on the true[X] yacht.  This video is part of a series of Cannes interviews sponsored by true[X].  Please find additional videos from the series here.