Future Tools

Advertising Digital Identification (Ad-ID) is a new database index term you register and use for every ad, campaign, and component you produce.

With Ad-ID, "anything that can or should be identified within the advertising business can be identified," said Michael Donahue, executive vice president for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), an Ad-ID co-sponsor. This includes labels, logos, and parts of labels, to name a few.

"Think of an Ad-ID tag as an ad's license plate," Donahue continued. Anyone who needs to know about the ad can access all the data attached to it by inputting the Ad-ID number on a Web screen at the Ad-ID site [www.ad-id.org]."

This "data-about-data," called meta-data in the database trade, can include anything you want or need to say about the ad, its placement, terms of use, etc. Each ad, in each media, has a separate number, but all can be related back to the same advertiser as on the present ISCI system.

The purpose of Ad-ID is to "'update, upgrade and evolve' the ISCI codes used to identify TV commercials for years," said Barbara Bacci Mirque, senior vice president of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the other Ad-ID co-sponsor. "The advertiser controls all permissions. They can decide who will see it in their staff, in the media," she continued. "It's also backward-compatible with the 8-digit ISCI system, which some advertisers wanted to retain."

John Kaiser, senior vice president-sales and marketing for Ad-ID, LLC, explained how the codes work. "The 12 spaces in the code are divided into three parts. The prefix is four letters. These correspond to current ISCI advertiser codes. That's followed by 4 numbers, which agencies can use in one of four ways, again to make this backward-compatible with ISCI. You can let the system create a number, 0001 to 9999. Another option is to put the year in the last position, xxx3 for an ad running in 2003, or in the 5th position, 3xxx." Kaiser continued, "The last option lets the advertiser key in any combination of letters and numbers, customized to their own tracking system."

It's the last four places that guarantee every Ad-ID is numerically unique. Until there's a numbering conflict, or unique codes are exhausted, these will default to 0000, and they will always be computer-generated. "But these places could be taken up by letters as well as numbers," Kaiser said, "and once those 27 trillion options are exhausted, the system could go to other characters, like the Greek Alphabet or the graphic characters at the upper-end of the ASCII character set. We will have a unique code for every asset, and that isn't the case today."

To get started with Ad-ID, an advertiser or agency appoints an organization administrator to control who can access and work with (add, see, and change) information in the database. If you are presently on the ISCI system, you already have an Ad-ID code prefix. If you're not, you can buy one for $2,500. There are five pricing tiers for Ad-ID codes, ranging from $250 for 10 codes a year to $10,000 annually for unlimited use. The money goes into maintaining the database, which is done on a Linux Apache server at a Web Host in Charlotte, NC.

"This is a major behavior change," Kaiser concluded. "With all ads going into one database, searchable by everyone in the industry." Ad trafficking, and billing, can finally enter the 21st century.