A screensaver is a computer program that was originally developed to protect the screen of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors. Today they are used for password protection and branding.
Cathode Ray Tube monitors used a cathode ray to form an image on a phosphorus coated screen. Those screens were sensitive, and if the image on the screen was not changed for a long time then the screen could get burned out. For this purpose, screensavers were developed.
A screensaver can be an animated text, a picture slide show, or any other moving graphic. The purpose of the screensaver is to keep changing the graphics on the computer screen. Since modern computers do not use CRT screens anymore, people may think that screensavers have become obsolete now.
This is not true. Screensavers are still used widely all over the world, and even though modern computers do not need them for saving the screen, they serve many other purposes.
Screensavers are a powerful branding tool, and many multinational companies make use of them for promoting their brands. Almost 90% computers in the world make use of screensavers, so there is a lot of scope for advertisers to create innovative screensavers that attract the masses. Once a user downloads a screensaver and installs it then the brand has already occupied a distinct space in the mind of the consumer. Every time the user sees the branded screensaver on their screen; the brand image will get reinforced.
Screensavers are also used for protecting the contents of the computer when the user is away. if you are using a password protected screensaver then every time it runs, the screen cannot be restored to normal without entering a password. This feature will save your computer from unwanted visitors while you are away from it.
The internet is full of screensavers on all possible subjects. You will find screensavers having marine life, animals, celebrities, seasons, continents, wars, sports, technology, and almost everything else that you can think of. Some people download screensaver just for the sake of enjoyment. It is these kinds of people that can be targeted by brands, and mostly this group constitutes children.
Screensavers can be used for advertising games, clothes, and other products suited to children. Other age groups can also be targeted, but advertising through screensavers will be most effective for children aged 6-13.
Screensavers hold great potential to be developed further and they can be great marketing tools.