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Handhelds Pose New Challenges for Marketers

The advent of video iPods has posed a vexing problem for marketers. The device now lets users watch TV programming whenever they want to, but the paid content available from Apple's iTunes service comes ad-free. As such, marketers are trying to figure out how to get their commercial messages on the tiny screen. "It's a lot of trial and error," says Liz Vanzura, global marketing director for General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac division. Marketers are eager to experiment, but many are struggling to figure out what ad content is appropriate for the iPod. Some companies, such as Nintendo Co., have taken tentative steps. The videogame maker has reused 15-second TV commercials for its "Mario Kart DS" at the beginning of video podcasts on, a unit of Los Angeles-based PureVideo Inc. The spots appear at the beginning of two-minute short surfing films such as "Triple Crown Big Pipeline" and "Girls of the North Shore." Others aren't sure what to do. "It's a real challenge," says Marlene Coulis, vice president for brand management at Anheuser-Busch.



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