Carat Places Surprising Sex Trade Ads For Lifetime Television

"High profits... Low start up costs... $9.5 billion in annual sales," reads the copy in an online ad placed recently by Carat interactive unit Carat Fusion. Following a brief pause, the face of a girl appears--showing viewers that it is human beings on the block, not some conventional get-rich-quick scheme.

The ad--part of a campaign Carat broke Oct. 5 for Lifetime Television's original TV movie "Human Trafficking," about the world sex trade, its victims, and the U.S. government's struggle against it--is running on both entertainment sites like Yahoo! and news sites such as and leading up to the mini-series premiere on Monday. On, the average amount of time spent with the ad was over two minutes, according to Carat's estimates.

"We knew entertainment sites were an obvious starting point, engaging people who are actively seeking programming content and scheduling," Tamara Birdsall, engagement specialist and vice president-creative director for Carat Fusion, said in a statement. "We also opened our placements to include news sites to give the program and the tragedy real world weight. The creative we developed uses facts and statistics to convey that while 'Human Trafficking' is a fictional account, it is based on a growing global threat that is very real."



The creative features broadband video in a format in which the ads begin with self-propelled video of the movie trailer, and when viewers roll over the unit, it shows the expanded trailer with sound. In addition to the video, viewers have access in the expanded unit to character sketches, "true cases" of human trafficking in the United States, a "take action" button, and an e-mail reminder--all within the ad itself to increase interaction.

"We launched an aggressive marketing campaign consisting of a strong mix of traditional and non-traditional platforms," Catherine Moran, vice president of marketing for Lifetime Television, said in a statement. "A key component was the interactive environment which allowed users to experience the full scope and depth of the movie."

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