MSN Bows 'Creative Connection'
MSN today introduced the "MSN Creative Connection Program" as it prepares for a major presence at the Cannes Advertising Festival, where it is a sponsor. Partnering with three top agencies and their creative executives, the program essentially gives them free reign to implement online campaigns on behalf of clients of their choosing. The program offers clients free media on the MSN home page and throughout the MSN network. MSN declined to disclose whether the program covers agency fees and staffing costs, or the duration of campaigns. MSN may add more agencies to the program.
"Of all of the media options available to marketers today, online offers the richest palette of options for reaching consumers --sight, sound, motion, and interactivity, along with the high-end demographic advertisers covet--but it is not being used to its greatest potential," said Eric Hadley, director of marketing, MSN. "The Creative Connection Program offers the leading creative directors and marketing experts the creative freedom--along with the paint, canvas, and technical support necessary--to take the medium to an entirely new level of brand storytelling."
Participating in the program are award-winning creative directors Kathy DeLaney, managing partner and executive creative director, Deutsch, New York; Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami; and Ty Montague, co-creative director, Wieden + Kennedy, New York. Each will develop integrated ad campaigns on behalf of a client of their choosing, assisted by MSN's Custom Solutions team. That team is responsible for ongoing work on the Volvo Digital Garage--and more recently, executed Coca-Cola's one-day takeover of the MSN home page.
The campaigns created by the three agencies are slated to begin appearing this fall with online ads across the MSN network and in premium areas such as the MSN Video Service, the home page, and in potentially custom-created real estate. A multi-city road show is also planned to give the marketing and ad communities a sneak peek at the campaigns. Among the three agencies' clients are Nike, Sega, Burger King, Revlon, and Monster.
At Deutsch, taking in the very best creative ideas --regardless of media--is an agency philosophy, according to DeLaney. "We're so excited about this opportunity and what I love about it is, it's really for a good cause. It raises awareness for a medium that really, really works, and has yet to be anywhere near completely utilized to its full effectiveness," she said, adding: "It's a showcase for great work, and there are really no handcuffs or budget restraints."
A study fielded by MSN and Marketing Evolution showed that online advertising helped lift sales for targeted consumer packaged goods by 7 percent to 12.5 percent, and out-performed other types of media by as much as 30 percent. The results of the Advertising Accountability study were released earlier this year; MSN and other interactive industry players continue to take the case for online advertising to marketers.
MSN rival Yahoo! has also aggressively promoted creativity on the Web, having launched a series of creative summits in the fall of 2002 and sponsoring the high-profile Clio, One Show, EFFIE, and ANDY Awards programs.
Yahoo! awarded Wieden's Montague its overstuffed purple "Big Idea" chair for two recent campaigns.