Better, Bigger, Faster?

Nowadays, typical online advertising just isn't good enough for most. The industry craves creative units that are better, bigger and faster. Our creative is constantly chastised by our broadcast friends at large.

We defend our turf and our passion by explaining the perils of online production and the challenges of developing creative in mere pixels. We say our competition is a click away. They say the same. We say we have less time for an ad to run. They say too bad. Even though we think we've won the debate, we still yearn for our creative to look like theirs.

By now you've all heard the hoopla in regard to video commercials in the rich media space. I've spoken to just about every executive level spokesperson at most rich media companies about this. Everyone seems to say, "Yea, we can do that." For a while, I've been waiting for someone to put their money where their mouth is.

If you've been in this space long enough, it's not too hard to guess who's out there with clients launching campaigns. Yes it's none other than Unicast.



Today, the company announced that two clients, Honda and Saab, are using the newest version of Unicast Video Commercial® live in market. The new version of the Video Commercial has what's called companion interactivity. Designed to garner interactivity, this allows side-by-side interactive elements during and after the video presentation.

After having worked on a large automobile account, it comes as no surprise to me that automobile manufacturers are the first to embrace this. Car companies want brand interaction. This format provides advertisers with an opportunity to provide specific product and service benefits based on consumer input while the ad is running. They can incorporate data collection information as well as direct consumers to a particular site or jump page. The unit is about eight times faster than traditional broadband video.

Edmund Purcell, management supervisor, RPA said, "Both Video Commercial formats effectively deliver Honda's offline creative to key audiences, but this new version makes the consumer a more active participant in the advertising experience. The result is a cohesive on and offline advertising campaign that takes full advantage of the Internet's interactive character."

I'm certainly not here to hang my hat on one format. I remain to be a tried and true media person that believes we shouldn't lose sight on the basics: right message, right time, right place. While I am thrilled at such new units, the onus is on the strategy, creative, audience of the site where the creative is running... the list goes on.

My fear with these new units is that online media folks will force feed traditional creative into them. I am a big fan of utilizing existing assets. However, the strategy, creative, production and media teams need to think in terms of interactivity. We understand that our target audience is on particular sites. We know that sometimes they are engaged in content and don't want to leave the site they are on. Therefore, we know how to be contextually relevant in our messaging and placement. These units let us captivate the user without intrusion. Let's see how Honda and Saab step up to the plate. Kudos to both agencies.

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