Tony Quin is CEO of IQ Interactive, a full-service interactive agency that focuses on rich media and broadband marketing. Based in Atlanta, IQ creates innovative interactive brand experiences for clients that include IBM, Royal Caribbean, Cox Communications, and National Geographic Channel. Quin, an award-winning television director, launched the agency in 1995. IQ won the 2006 Cannes Cyber Lions Grand Prix award for its work on VW's GTI Configurator. The agency was honored in September at the 2006 OMMA Awards for Best Creative Breakthrough for its work for Royal Caribbean.
Tell us a bit about IQ. What are you most proud of this year?
>IQ Interactive is an independent, precocious 12-year-old. This year we are proud of winning the 2006 Cannes Cyber Lion Grand Prix, The Webby's Best Use of Video or Moving Image, Best of Show at the Horizon Awards, Best of Show in the Adrian Awards, and, of course, the OMMA Awards' Creative Breakthrough Award. We are also proud of starting new relationships with Genworth Financial, Celebrity Cruises, and the American Cancer Society, as well as continuing our work for IBM, Cox, Royal Caribbean, and others.
Speaking of Royal Caribbean, how hard was it to convince the client to go with FreedomOfTheSeas.com?
>We created a rich media online video magazine for IBM some years ago and produced a story about their work for Royal. When Royal saw it, they wanted to try using rich media themselves. The results from that first project were so successful they asked us how we would approach the online marketing of their new ship, Freedom of the Seas. The ship didn't exist at the time, so we suggested they create a virtual experience using a combination of 3-D and video. It was a yearlong project in the runup to the launch of the ship; we created new parts of the virtual ship every few months. The client was comfortable because at each stage they could easily see the success we were having by looking at the tracking data.
It was a breakthrough in a number of ways - the size of the project, the introduction of sophisticated production techniques most often used in filmmaking, and the willingness to design a Web experience based on new strategic approaches to engaging customers.
Has interactive media reached a tipping point?
>This is a wonderful business to be in right now. For years we have known that broadband would reach a tipping point where the nature of the Internet, the way people interact with it, and their expectations of online would change radically. That has happened and is even accelerating. It took business a while to catch up, but at the beginning of the year we saw big companies realizing it's not business as usual any more.
We think IQ is the prototype of the ad agency for the 21st century, where interactive moves to the center of the media universe. I am convinced this is going to happen soon for one simple reason: With rich media, the Web can do a better job of selling a brand story or value proposition than any other medium.
What trends in digital media and marketing are you banking on for 2007 and beyond?
>I would like to see a greater recognition that marketing on the Web is as important, if not more important, than advertising on the Web. The Web ad, like the search ad, is an invitation to the conversation. When people click on the ad, they are saying "talk to me." The problem is that 9 out of 10 times today there's nobody there. There is no next step to the conversation.
That's where we come in. We tell the rest of the story and close the deal.
If you weren't in your current position, what would you most like to do?
>I used to produce TV shows in Hollywood, but doing the same series year in and year out got boring. That's why I love this business; I get to do something different every day. I can think of very few things I would rather do, except maybe be paid millions of dollars to work for a few weeks on a movie, then take three months off before I do it again. That would be nice.