'Pirates' Seizes YouTube

The Walt Disney Company Thursday launched a campaign on YouTube.com for the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," marking the first time a national marketer has advertised on the popular video-sharing site.

The campaign--which was live for just 24 hours on Thursday--included rich media banner ads featuring a panning close-up of "Pirates" star Johnny Depp alongside a digital clock counting down the hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds to the movie's premiere today.

Julie Supan, YouTube's director of marketing, said the deal was a "milestone" for the site, marking the first time a major brand took out ads on YouTube, as well as the first time the site ran graphic ads.

Disney Thursday was the sole advertiser on the site, with the banner ad running both on the home page and every "watch page"--that is, the page that opens to play a video that has been selected by a user. In terms of ad metrics, Supan said the site garners more than 80 million video views a day.



Although the "Pirates" banner ad was attention-grabbing and slickly produced, Supan said YouTube might still tweak its ad model as it rolls out later this summer. "This is not necessarily the final version of our new ad model," she said. She added that YouTube's new ad sales force is now working throughout the country to sell to national advertisers.

Looking to the future, Supan predicted that more marketers will soon follow Disney's lead. "Lots of advertisers are contacting YouTube now, because they better recognize the opportunity it presents," she said.

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