Homepage Takeover of The Washington Post.

Posted by truecreek on October 9, 2012 under Opinions. Everyone has them., The Work | Be the First to Comment

Another in a wide variety of tactics that we are using to reach the Washington D.C. DMA on behalf of our client, Transurban.  This is a screenshot of our Home Page takeover from today.  The official term is OPA pushdown. 

After just a few hours, it seems like the digital portion of the campaign is working very well.  Over the next few weeks, there will be much more to come.

Get ready for a faster, more predictable trip. The 495 Express Lanes open soon, giving you a new choice for faster travel on the Capital Beltway.  Check out 495 Express Lanes for more information.


Borrell: Local Online Advertising Cools Off.

Posted by truecreek on October 9, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Katy Bachman

Following five years of double-digit growth, local online advertising will moderate next year, growing only 5 percent to $14.9 billion, according to a new forecast from Borrell Associates released Thursday (Oct. 8).

In contrast, this year local online advertising is expected to grow 12 percent to $14.2 billion, with most of the growth coming in the second half of the year.

Over the past five years, local online advertising grew at a compound annual growth rate of 46.5 percent. For the next five years, Borrell is expecting local online advertising to grow at a rate of 2.9 percent. Local online advertising will peak in 2013 at $16.4 billion.

“The local media advertising category is approaching what we believe is saturation,” the Borrell report said. “The game in 2010 will center more around stealing market share than growing the market.”

Next year’s market will be driven by demand for paid search and online directory advertising, while banner sales will decline 10 percent. Both streaming video and audio advertising and email will grow, but still make up a smaller segment of total adspend.

MTV Nets Touts Shorter Web Video Ads.

Posted by truecreek on July 16, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

By Mike Shields

MTV Networks believes it has found a better answer for short form online video advertising than the much-derided 30-second pre-roll: a very short video spot (five seconds long) accompanied by a corresponding, though slightly-delayed display ad.

The company on Wednesday (July 15) announced the results of an elaborate study on online video advertising called Project Inform—one that sought to find a better ad standard for the burgeoning medium which combined brand effectiveness with user-tolerance. The extensive project, conceived as far back as early 2008, was conducted in partnership with with the researcher InsightExpress and employed the services of the Web video technology firm Panache.

Starting with over 20 possibilities, by early 2009 year MTVN says it had boiled its list of potential video ad formats to three, including the classic pre-roll. The others included a unit called the Lower 1/3 Product Suite—which combines a five second pre-roll with a transparent flash ads that takes over a the bottom third of a users video screen only after ten seconds of content has streamed, and a newer unit dubbed The Sideloader Product Suite—which also utilizes a five-second spot and a delayed animated display ad appearing on the side of the video player.

Then, from January through April of this year MTVN began testing the three placements on its collection of sites, from MTV.com to ComedyCentral.com to CMT.com, using 50 million streams worth of ad inventory for three different advertisers, including a studio, a packaged goods brand, and a grocery brand. The results indicated that while pre-rolls faired OK, the “Lower 1/3” scored best when it came to classic branding metrics like unaided awareness, aided awareness and purchase intent.

That approach was crucial, according to Nada Stirratt, MTV Networks’ executive vp of Digital Advertising—who told Mediaweek that Project Inform was specifically designed to study the power of brand advertising—and not direct response advertising—in Web video. Yet it also had to yield actionable data. “The premise was to find out what do you need to activate a consumer response to a marketer’s message,” she said.

And MTV deliberately zeroed in on short form video and casual games—content types that continue to explode in user popularity but have often fallen short when it comes to monetization. “Everybody talks about long form,” Stirratt said. “That was our bias – ‘how do we make these [shorter] experiences work for advertisers?’ The goal was to find the perfect balance between an ad unit that is effective in moving the needle and an ad unit that is likeable.”

Why do people like the “Lower 1/3” unit?  It’s hard to say definitively, but Stirratt’s theorized that it has something to do with the lag between the short five second pre-roll and the display unit, which comes 10-seconds later, when “you already have a favorable impression of a brand, and people are really engrossed in content. And they are still able to interact if they want.”

MTVN’s goal with Project Inform in some ways mirrors the research work being done by Publicis VivaKi and a host of prominent partners on The Pool —which is also aimed at establishing a better industry standard for Web video. But MTVN has declined to participate in The Pool, instead pushing forward in search of its own answer, one that Stirratt believes is desperately needed.

“Obviously we need agencies and clients on board [creating original online video ads],” she said. “The win for the industry is when people start creating things for this medium instead of for other media.”

New Formats Give Online Video Ads Potential.

Posted by truecreek on June 29, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Michael Learmonth

For years, the promise of online video advertising has been just that — a promise. The reality has been a big disappointment: ads that look and feel like TV, and are repurposed from TV creative, only much more annoying.

The reason for this is twofold: advertisers and agencies were reticent to spend money on new creative for online video, and the video market itself was splintered, and lacked the kind of content advertisers were comfortable with.

But with the TV-upfront market frozen and advertisers looking for lower-cost means to reach consumers, a push is on to try formats that could finally realize some of the potential of online video with targeted ads that engage with real interactivity. “As prime-time audiences decrease, it makes sense to go where the audiences are going,” said Chris Allen, VP-video innovation at Starcom USA.

VivaKi, like Starcom a unit of Publicis, is running a yearlong test of different formats for both long- and short-form content known as “The Pool.” Earlier this year Reckitt-Benckiser, marketer of Clearasil and Lysol, primed the market with a $20 million budget shift to the web from TV for campaigns on ad networks like Yume, Brightroll and Nabbr.

Meanwhile, a flurry of innovation is taking place across the industry to move marketers away from static pre-rolls and impression-based pricing to different models that take advantage of the web.

“We’re in this funky transition period in the industry; the lion’s share of what advertisers are doing is repurposing TV creative for video, but some are dipping their toe into new creative and testing new formats,” said Hulu Senior VP Jean-Paul Colaco.

The goal here is to lure more dollars online and increase the size of what IPG unit Magna Global estimates will be a $700 million pie in 2009. Nearly 80% of the U.S. online audience watches video, according to ComScore, but the time spent is just 1% of TV viewing, which is a $70 billion market. So an argument could be made that online video is getting its share, but no one here is making that argument, are they?

Here’s sampling of some of the latest efforts to reinvent online video ads:

# CBS, through its TV.com unit, is experimenting with a system that would allow users to earn credits by watching ads. Earn enough credits and you can watch ad-free. It’s also experimenting with bigger ad loads. Typically a half-hour show online has two minutes of ads, compared with eight minutes on TV. CBS is pushing that up to five minutes with no measureable consumer blow-back.

# Tremor Media has rolled out a host of ad units called vChoice that bring interactivity into the player. Viewers can choose the ad they watch, dig deeper into related content, watch a product demo and play a game all without leaving the video experience. Some units allow advertisers to use their existing creative. Others “push the boundaries of what has been done by allowing new, nonlinear storytelling,” said Shane Steele, Tremor VP-marketing.

# Hulu pioneered the choose-your-own pre-roll “ad selector” unit, which allows users to choose an ad, including a long-form movie trailer in exchange for an ad-free episode. The site has also experimented with ad-free blocks where an advertiser such as McDonald’s buys up the ad inventory to make prime time ad-free. The Disney-News Corp.-NBCU joint venture has also tried live ads, like the faux “telethon” for Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.

# YouTube introduced its own variation on choose-your-own-ads just last week. Google’s video site is trying out a system where viewers can choose to watch a pre-roll ad or a “promoted video,” which itself is a media buy. Either way, the view helps YouTube fulfill guarantees made to advertisers.

# Then there are “engagement” pricing models where the advertiser pays for a specific action, rather than an impression. Video-ad network ScanScout, for example, serves rich overlays that allow users to hover over or click to watch an ad or movie trailer. The network did a deal with Universal Pictures for “Fast and the Furious 4,” where the studio paid for a number of completed views of the trailer rather than impressions.

Ad Recession Brings on the Belly Fat.

Posted by truecreek on March 10, 2009 under More Dam News | Read the First Comment


Sites Stop Fighting Those Ubiquitous Direct-Response Ads as Publishers Reluctant to Forego Revenue

by Michael Learmonth

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — The recession is having a slimming-down effect on media businesses, but it’s feeding the proliferation of pot bellies and muffin tops across the web.

The belly-fat ads may be unappealing and jarring on some of the higher-end sites that are running them, but they work, and can bring more revenue than a display ad sold on a cost-per-thousand-viewers basis.

The ubiquitous “belly fat” ads, placed by numerous direct-response marketers, including some of the web’s shadiest advertisers, are finding welcome homes across the web as publishers grow more reluctant to leave any available ad budgets on the table, even those attached to unappealing ads.

These ads, which typically link to sites with names such as Becky’s Weight Loss or Helen’s Weight Loss, often use the same exact creative — a before-and-after photo of a woman’s belly — and tout some secret to getting rid of a gut. Users, of course, have to click on the ad to find out more.

Online advertising start-up Rubicon Project estimates that different versions of the “belly fat” ads are now being served by half the ad networks in the U.S., sometimes accounting for as much as 30% of an ad network’s total revenue.

It’s all part of a larger shift toward direct-response advertising as brand dollars become harder to come by. The belly-fat ads may be unappealing and jarring on some of the higher-end sites that are running them, such as MSNBC.com, but they work, and can bring more revenue than a display ad sold on a cost-per-thousand-viewers basis.

“Ultimately, the economy is what it is, and ad networks are finding that it is easier for them to get direct-response ads right now than it is to get brand dollars,” said Rubicon VP J.T. Batson.

But here’s the bigger problem: The process of blocking belly-fat ads for publishers that don’t want them is proving particularly difficult for ad networks. The creative gets placed by numerous corporations using different tags, URLs and toll-free numbers, making them hard to track and stop automatically.

And when ad networks have unsold inventory, they’ll often tap another ad network to fill it, giving belly-fat ads another side door onto websites that might not want them.

New Jersey-based ad network AdBlade is placing some belly-fat ads, including smaller placements on MSNBC, but CEO Ash Nashed said he turns away about 60% of the belly-fat ads out there, including those with forced upsells in the fine print and those where a person doesn’t answer the toll-free number. “They do perform well; a lot of people click on those ads, quite frankly,” he said.

And it’s not just belly fat. Direct-response ads of all kinds, such as those for lowering bills, avoiding computer viruses and checking credit scores, are flooding into unsold ad inventory. Windows that open underneath a page — the so-called pop-unders of the late ’90s — are making a comeback, and ad execs say they’re seeing more in-text ads from the likes of Vibrant Media and Kontera as publishers attempt to squeeze incremental dollars from each page.

“It signifies a shortage of alternatives and a hunger for revenue,” said Andy Atherton, chief operating officer of Brand.net. “This isn’t a new issue, but in this climate it’s harder to say no to any ad if there is money attached to it.”

In their quest for hard-to-find ad dollars, publishers are paying more attention to their international traffic, which many used to ignore. A typical U.S. web property gets 30% of its traffic from overseas, but it’s difficult to sell ads against those visitors without doing a deal with an ad network based in, say, Germany, to sell to a much smaller German audience, or working with companies such as Adconion or AdGent 007, which can serve international ads to those visitors.