Create A Surround Session, Win $50,000
This first of its kind promotion is directed at advertising agencies that haven't worked on surround sessions yet. "The difficult part is to get agencies to commit creative resources to do it," says Craig Calder, VP of marketing for New York Times Digital. "Agencies think it's a great idea but to actually produce new creative just for this requires additional resources and more client money."
Surround sessions is a format that plays ads repeatedly as a user moves through a site, providing advertisers with exclusive placement and an extended period of time to show a variety of ads.
Naturally, only one agency will win the contest, but Calder hopes once campaigns are created for actual clients "they'll want to come in and give it a shot."
While a number of surround session campaigns have already been created, Calder says, "We think there's a lot of potential to improve the efficiency and take it to the next level. We're excited about the creative potential to tell a story and immerse users in the experience for a long period of time. The idea is to build to a crescendo in the advertising message, tease them through it, and hit them with a call to action after piquing their interest."
And that's the challenge for agency creative directors. Entries are being accepted until July 26. Calder says more than 100 registrations have been received so far.
The $50,000 prize will be a big incentive to creatives and the free advertising will generate a buy-in from the agencies. "It could bring fame and fortune to the agencies," Calder says.
The contest will be judged by a panel that includes representatives from two major advertisers, Proctor & Gamble and Visa USA. The idea is to use judges outside of NYTimes.com to promote fairness, Calder says. Also, bringing in the judges will enable the work to be exposed to a wide variety of professionals within the industry.
The contest is called the 2002 Ad Innovation Awards. “Surround sessions” isn't in the name because Calder says it might be the beginning of an annual awards program that could be open to other forms of advertising.