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Interactive marketing and other great advertising ideas since 2003
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August 31, 2003
Reconsidering pop-ups

As a user, I must admit it, I found them annoying. Not as bad as pop-under, but disturbing most of the times. I'm reading and getting quite a lot of opinions on pop-ups in these days since I'm writing a column for an Italian portal on the topic. Someone predicts that pop-ups will disappear in one year time (exactly like e-mail marketing, see this post) and I agree with this opinion if I refer it to big portals, while I believe pop-ups will still be used by many small and medium size Web sites.
Anyway thanks to a link on Marketing Profs I've also found an academic paper on pop-ups that investigates timing of pop-up promotions that customers encounter while browsing informational websites. They might not be as bad as they appear to be. Timing as well as context are important issues when talking about advertising and online advertising in particular, and might offer interesting points in order to reconsider the future of pop-ups.
The study is by Wendy Moe of the University of Texas and can be downloaded for free here (.pdf). Eventually a free academic paper! Thank you Wendy for sharing!

August 29, 2003
Save e-mail marketing from extinction!

Spam is a menace to marketers' credibility and efficiency. On
Bob Liodice, president of the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA), says:

"Our marketers are basically saying spam is killing (e-mail marketing). E-mail marketing clearly will be muted until they have a greater degree of confidence that their messages will go through in the way that they want them to".

The message is clear: stop the spam or in a year e-mail marketing won't exist any more!
We might actually start a petition... Save e-mail marketing from extinction!

August 28, 2003
Successful video-email campaign by Land Rover reports that Land Rover has run a successful video-email campaign in Germany using the technology provided by Activestream. E-mails with video content have been opened by 70% of the people who received them, with a 19,8% click-through for further information.

Levi's Europe autumn branding campaign

As reported today on Revolution Magazine, Levi's Europe has upgraded its website with games, new products and even an 'image-mangling' engine to promote the brand's Teenage Kicks line and its new autumn product range. In Levi's mind the goal of the Web site is to appeal and to retain the brand's core target audience, 15- to 24-year-old girls and guys.
The Web site is available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. I like the graphics, but I've found navigation rather confusing.

Visa gets ready for the Paralympic

141XM has launched a new Web site promoting Visa International's sponsorship of Paralympic Summer Games next year in Athens. The Web site is highly accessible and, for example, contents can be synthesized and read aloud by special Web browsers for the blind. Read more on AdWeek.

August 27, 2003
Give your site the personality test

I loved Susan Solomon approach to Web site development today on ClickZ. The "ghost" of Web site conformity is closer than you think...
Actually I'm facing the opposite problem right now, trying to write down a concept for the new Web site of the Company I work for. Here they don't want to conform, they want to stand out of the crowd, but... they have an out of fashion marketing approach, too much product oriented! So I believe doesn't make a big difference if you have an innovative approach to your web site communication but you lack of the right marketing basis :-(

Brand Building on the Internet

Consumer packaged foods have found the recipe for a successful life on the Web. Bob Tedeschi reports on New York Tiems (free reg.) about the online branding efforts of Unilever, Kraft and Procter & Gamble.

August 26, 2003
Crime, let's bring it down� campaign

In the UK Profero has recently produced a series of viral clips for the Home Office and COI Communications (Don't give them an easy ride. Crime, let's bring it down� campaign).
he three clips were written by Profero and revolve around an opportunistic robber in a underground car park who spots a �target� vehicle and is confronted with various scenarios when he attempts to perpetrate a crime.
Have a look at them online, they're really nice and funny:

Budgeting Internet advertising

How much money should you invest in online advertising? Mark Redetzke provides an answer today on ClickZ. Well, he doesn't give you any exact number, but he provides you with important inputs to evaluate our strategy and come up with a budget decision and information, you know means money.

Visa's online branding strategies

Increase the awareness of Visa's sponsorship of Nascar. This the main goal of Visa's online promotion to build a relationship with a loyal and high affinity audience. On iMediaConnection you can find campaign insights from the latest Visa's year-long branding program.

The Role of Content-Based Advertising

Content-based advertising is still in its infancy but everybody is already talking about it as the future of search engine advertising. On E-CommerceTimes yesterday, Robyn Weisman reports on contextual advertising, quoting analysts from IDC and GartnerG2.

August 25, 2003
Jose Cuervo "Endless Summer" Campaign

Jose Cuervo, the tequila maker, wants to drive grassroots awareness of its brand, therefore has decided to run an online campaign in the US to switch Labor Day from the first Monday in September to whatever is the official last day of summer.
The news is reported on DMNews today by Mickey Alam Khan who explains that the campaign includes banners, e-mail and the Web site at Jose Cuervo basically wants people to sign up for an online petition to delay summer's end, later they will send the petition to the US Congress.
Sam Chadha, global integrated marketing manager at Jose Cuervo International in New York. says:

"For us, it's getting close to our customers and learning more about them, and CuervoNation is the platform for the brand. The actual promotion mechanics encourage consumers to contact likeminded people to gather as many names as possible".

Apparently it's a smart marketing idea to collect names and demographics from online users. Personally I like the fact of using the "Endless Summer" concept, but I believe that such an official looking petition is exaggerated, making the campaign rather dumb.
To see some of Cuervo's banners exposed online, click here, and here.

McDonald's 'Cool Train': a successful wireless campaign

McDonald�s �Cool Train� developed by Tribal DDB Sidney has won two awards at Mobile Marketing Association Awards held last month in Sydney. Tribal DDB won the major award for �Best Use with Radio� and won the Highly Commended award in the overall �Best Integrated� category.
As explained on the agency Press release, McDonald�s �Cool Train� campaign objectives were to communicate the summer New Tastes Menu range in such a way that was visually engaging and encouraged viewers to actively interact with the brand.

August 21, 2003
Pop-ups: extinction is close?

Pop-ups are annoying and even non-effective but... they are still there, alive and somehow healthy. However, according to the opinion expressed today on IAR, pop-ups are their way to extinction. I particularly liked the way Paul Iaffaldano,'s chief revenue officer expressed his opinion about pop-ups :

"I believe from the very bottom of my heart that pop-us, while a very wonderfully ingenious idea, are not the most effective way to reach consumers. I think the industry will move beyond pop-ups in the next year or so."

Let's meet here in one year time and see what has changed. I'm not so sure pop-ups will disappear so easily.Pop-Ups Under Siege

Virgin Mobile likes to make it viral

Digital Media Communications has just released a new online buzz campaign called "Red Academy" for Virgin Mobile. The campaign features a digital film clip called 'Friends' that pokes fun at the Orange campaign by introducing viewers to the Virgin Mobile 'Red Academy' and its childlike Machiavellian character Damien who compels naive trainees to "forget phone functions and simply phone friends".

You can have a look at the Friends film on DMC's Web site.

As reported today in Mobile Youth newsletter, recently Virgin Mobile has announced that it has reached 3,000,000 customers, confirming its position as the fastest growing network ever seen in Britain.

Online advertising on the rise in France

As reported today on Le Journal du Net online advertising is growing in France. "E-pub", as defined in French, has reached a value of 119 millions of Euros in the second term of this year, with a growth of 64% compared to the same period last year. The data come from a recent study by TNS Media Intelligence-IAB France and highlights the fact that online advertising has surpassed by three times movie advertising.
Cars, travels, telecommunication providers and banks are the most active sectors in online advertising.

August 20, 2003
KFC sms campaign case study

On 21 Communications web site you can download the case study of a recent KFC wireless campaign in China (.pdf). The sms campaign focused on sales increase by giving away m-coupons.

Heineken viral campaign

Create fake headlines on magazines like Maxim or Sporting News and then send them to friends. This is the idea of Heinken's recent viral campaign lauched in the US. Have a look at it on its web site. Nice!

Zuji new campaign by M&C; Saatchi

News from Australia... Online travel service provider Zuji has just launched a new campaign, developed by M&C; Saatchi to position as "your online travel guru" throughout Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The news is reported today on B&T; Marketing.

IAB Acceleration Program

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today announced that several IAB member companies will participate in an Acceleration Program designed to hasten the growth of the industry. This will enable the association to immediately initiate programs and projects that will further improve the value of the interactive advertising medium for advertisers and agencies. Participating companies will fund the Acceleration Program by providing pre-paid membership fees worth $5.8 million. Read on the press release on Yahoo! Biz.

Experience Mercedes-Benz online

Mercedes-Benz has just launched two microsites in 18 countries and 20 languages to promote two cars: Viano and Vito. Syzygy is the agency that has developed the German auto-maker new online presence and features on its Web site a press release commenting the branding campaign on the Internet. Sorry the press release is in German, I'll do my best to translate the key points...
The project has been divided in two phases. In the introduction the visitors of the Vito microsite receive a first impression from the new car and an overview of the variety of the new transporter series. Starting from September 6th, the second phase will begin with further information and interactive features.
The sites offer background informations, interactive offers, animations and interviews. Furthermore users can download brochures, agree upon a test run or get in touch with a local dealer. In particular I like the idea of presenting inteviews with the people that have actually projected the car, I feel like it adds a human touch to the online experience.
The Viano microsite features an emotional approach as well, in order to target different prospect groups, appealing both to individualists and families.

August 19, 2003
Automakers advertising online

It seems like automakers believe in the Internet potentials to increase brand awareness and indirectly to generate more sales.
In these days I've found two articles talking about Ford and General Motors efforts to take advantage of the Web to regain market share.
On iMediaConnection Sara Wilson talks about "All new 2003 Ford Expedition" a new campaign created to draw attention and make people interact with the brand. The campaign has been run with different ads and features on the three world's main portals: Yahoo! and because, as Kristen Bergmann, Digital Media Director and Senior Partner at J. Walter Thompson explains:

"We felt that we would reach most of the Internet population if we were to choose these three [portals], and they all happened to be existing partners of ours that we knew could deliver".

On the other side we have General Motors who has just launched an online banner campaign to drive qualified traffic to the newly relaunched As DMNews reports, Flash-enabled banners have been developed by Zentropy Partners, with skyscrapers, horizontals and standard formats in different sizes and 120 creative executions. And Steve Woolford, executive vice president and worldwide managing director at Zentropy explains:
"The beauty of this advertising is that it links up that part of the BuyPower site that most people are interested in. If someone's not considering a GM vehicle, it's silly to give them the tool to shop. If they're not aware, we must make them aware. If someone's not considering, we must make them."

Pfizer targets Hispanic community

Sanalarana is the new Pfizer Web site created to refine and extend its offline brand strategy online through the development of a space devoted to the health care needs of the Hispanic community. The press release on Yahoo! explains that the Spanish language site provides educational content regarding health topics and diseases that informs and empowers members of the Hispanic community to take charge of their health.

August 18, 2003
IAB looks for feedback on rich media

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is seeking feedback from the interactive ad industry on its Rich Media Guidelines Version 2.0 Phase 1. There's an online survey on IAB's Web site. More on Adweek.

The Rules of Engagement... nothing new

I always read with great interest articles talking about interactivity and user engagement but, this time, I've been rather disappointed by Jeremy Lockhorn article on ClickZ The Rules of Engagement. No new ideas, no new tips, no new opinion, just a bunch of obvious stuffs.
Sorry for this "extreme" judgement, but I'm used to expect high quality content from ClickZ and this way it's easier to get disappointed, even though I understand it's August, it's hot, and the climate influences our performances :-)

The movie is a flop? Blame the sms!

A curious article today on the Independent: according to the movie industry recent flops of The Hulk, Charlie's Angels and Gigli are due to... "sms".
"The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films - sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend."
Well, my dear movie industry managers, if you really believe their flops are due to sms instead that to lack of quality and originality, then I have only a suggestion... Sequestrate the cell phones to people before entering the theatre!

August 14, 2003
Heinz launch "Bite Me" online game

A new campaign by Heinz has been launched in the UK. Through the microsite teenagers can play an advergame or download ringtones. The news is reported on Revolution Web Site.

August 13, 2003
Don't Ask Jeeves, ask someone else...

Net imperative reports that Internet search firm Ask Jeeves has decided to drop "Jeeves" the butler from its latest US advertising campaign, prompting speculation that the company's image is to be revamped without him.
The cartoon butler will not completely disappear, but it will be somehow kept hidden in order to increase people curiosity to find out what happend to it. A strange idea, I'm not sure how much people will care of a cartoon...
The new web site has also a fresher "look & feel", and it's designed to compete against Google... Good luck :-)

Ad targeting: troubles and solution...

... by Steve Outing on Editor & Publisher.
It seems like everyone is talking about contextual advertising. It's definitely an hot trend, and it's good to read interesting articles like the one I'm linking.

Movie marketers and the Internet

Movie marketers are taking a great advantage of the Internet. As reported today on MediaPost there's a growing amount of traffic to movie web sites. Watching trailers is the main goal, but fans are "available" to be targeted with merchandising as well...

Quigo Launches Contextual Advertising Platform

AdSonar is a technology presented by Quigo that will allow online publishers to deliver contextually targeted advertising that achieves greater relevancy, reach and revenue for publishers, licensees and advertisers alike.
Online contextual advertising is part of the fast growing search engine marketing industry, which experienced growth of 275% in 2001 and 325% in 2002 to $927.4 million in the US, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Read on the press release on Yahoo! Biz.

August 11, 2003
Give contextual advertising a chance

This is the key statement by Tom Hespos today on MediaPost. Contextual advertising offers new opportunities to media buyers. There are still a lot of questions to answers concerning their relialibity, however, before expressing a final judgement, let's give them a chance.

GartnerG2: Interactive advertising has a bright future (maybe)

According to Gartner G2, U.S. interactive advertising revenue will exceed $8.6 billion by 2005. Quoted in a press release is available today on Yahoo!, Denise Garcia, principal analyst, Media and Advertising for GartnerG2 says:

"A fundamental shift in these perceptions needs to occur for interactive advertising to substantially grow its share of the overall ad budget. Until interactive advertising can demonstrate an ability to deliver on brand awareness and product positioning campaigns, dollars will not begin to shift from traditional to interactive, and growth will be incremental. Some of this increase in spending could be due to greater total ad spending and higher rates charged for targeted advertising, which is now more readily available due to technology improvements. Either way, once agencies increase their spending, they will also increase their experience levels. And experience is the primary reason agencies develop positive perceptions toward interactive."

August 08, 2003
Mobile marketing made in New Zealand

At the beginning of July, Telecom Mobile has revelead the results of a recent text-based marketing campaign to target New Zealand rugby fans (Super 12 Text Match Fever). The game involved sending trivia questions on rugby � past and present � directly to Telecom Mobile�s 025 and G027 networks. The campaign attracted 7500 registered users, 5500 daily players and generated 500,000 responses.
More on Scoop.

Join the virtual queue for the new Golf V

Team BBDO Interactive Germany has developed the new Golf V microsite which offers several possibilities to the user of shortening the time up to the car market debut.
On the microsite there's also a curious game with a guy waiting in line and the user able to join the virtual queue. Telling the truth, I've looked at it, but my German is not good enough to understand what is going on :-)

Banners of the week

ON the French online publication Journal du Net a selection of fine banners, the most creative and efficient appeared online in the last week of July. I especially like the Absolut Vodka rich media banners.

August 07, 2003
AdSense new version

Google expands AdSense program and adds ways to customise the ad-sharing service. Paul Festa and Stefanie Olsen report about the new features and customisation possibilities on ZdNet UK.

Alternative marketing for the SHARK WEEK

Buzz marketing agency Interference, Inc. is helping Discover Channel promoting the upcoming 16th edition of the SHARK WEEK. The campaign runs multi-channel and is presented on national print, television, online and billboards.
You can find Discovery Channel press release and some "scary" images on PR News Wire.

Drink, play and win

Britvic has launched a new media-enabled on-pack promotion. Customers can win by sendind in unique codes from packaging via text message and afterwards going to a microsite ( developed by Grand Union. Grand Union has already worked in the past for Britvic, creating the advertainment web site Freekee Soda Factory.
You can read more about Britvic promotion on New Media Age.

Vauxhall Motors streams tv spots

Vauxhall Motors, a European division of General Motors will stream TV spots within online ads and Web site content, to promote the launches of the new Meriva and Signum models. As written on technology from EyeWonder will be used.

MSN Online Advertising Awards

MSN network celebrated yesterday the best creative advertising content to appear on its network of Web sites over the past year. As explained on Yahoo! News, AtmosphereBBDO won the first prize in "branding" category for "Pen" developed for General Electrics; Lowe New York received the first prize in "Direct Response" for a Dell ad that promoted a free-shipping offer; and Euro RSCG Circle gained the gold medal in "Rich Media" for an interactive ad developed for New Balance Athletic Shoe.

Advergames, Jeep and Lara Croft

Chrysler Group has launched an integrated marketing campaign that includes an online game, to promote a special limited edition Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Tomb Raider. On and Yahoo! Games users can play and experience driving the same car as Lara Croft does in the movie ?Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.?
"Everything the Rubicon can do in the game, it can do in reality," says Jeff Bell, vice president, Jeep, Chrysler Group quoted on iMediaConnection.

August 06, 2003
Newsletters: The Art of Discipline

I've read with great interest today's article on ClickZ, The Art of Discipline, by Kathleen Goodwin. A newsletter could be a strong tool to promote a brand and establish a direct contact with clients and prospects. Publishing a newsletter is easy, but publishing a precise and effective newsletter takes time and a lot of effort. Kathleen points out seven rules to be followed to keep a newsletter on time, fresh and... successful.
Nothing really new, but a lot of useful tips to always keep in mind.

Eyeblaster goes big

Eyeblaster today announced the launch of Eyeblaster 5.3, the latest upgrade to its industry-leading rich media platform. Eyeblaster 5.3 includes a number of significant enhancements that make it easier for online advertisers to create, manage, and track rich media campaigns directly, and produce more effective online campaigns. One such enhancement is the ability to serve larger file-sizes of up to one megabyte (1 MB). There will also be the possibility of a closer integration with Flash MX.
Read on the press release on Yahoo! News, it features also some numbers on rich media.

Panasonic new advergame

Sorry, I've missed an interesting link last week: Game Used to Promote Panasonic Products on iMediaconnection. It's about the advergames used by Panasonic to promote its new Nitrix mini-system stereos. They will be featured as one of the primary highlights within the community Club Panasonic on Panasonic's objective is to attract younger and hipper consumers.
As Gene Kelsey, vice president, general manager, Brand Strategy Group, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. explains on iMediaConnection:

"It was simply logical to create a racing game to play off the product's cool factor and that is enough fun to generate a viral buzz and repeat traffic to the Panasonic Website."

The advergames of the Nitrix Series Racing have been created by Renegade Marketing Group.

Chrysler's Marketing Mistakes

It's not exactly about online advertising, but it's worth reading for anyone interested in marketing strategies and issues. Jerry Flint writes on Forbes about four big issues that are mining Chrysler's marketing strategies and future. It's not only about hiring Celine Dion. According to Jerry "Chrysler's marketing mistakes are far more serious".

Know your competitors' traffic

Will be revealed by a new service by Hitwise: Search Terms. The tool will help businesses better understand how their competitors are using search marketing programmes to attract customers.
The news is reported today on Brand Republic Digital Bulletin.

Mobile messaging always hot

Mobile messaging will drive data revenue and provide operators with the tools to bring multimedia into the hands of users, according to a new study by IDC.
Quoted in a Press Release, Paolo Pescatore, senior analyst for IDC�s European Wireless and Mobile Communications Service, says:

Mobile messaging will be the bridge that will assist operators to aid the take-up of mobile data in Western Europe. It is important to remember that mobile messaging allows users to communicate, depending on their needs and acceptance of using that medium. SMS is discreet, direct, and in most cases quick, whereas the first offerings of MMS allow users to send pictures to one another, and IM offers presence allowing users to interact with other users. So much is mentioned and said about killer applications but in terms of potential and current usage of SMS so far, mobile messaging will be the killer cocktail for mobile operators.

Mars: a misleading ad

A Mars bar online promotion which encouraged consumers to collect wrappers to get a computer games console was "misleading" according to the advertising watchdog. More details today on

August 05, 2003
Vodafone new location based service

Location based services look very attractive to mobile advertisers. However advertising is only a part of the location based possibilities provided by mobile phones. M-spatial has an interesting example of pedestrian navigation service, and Vodafone has decided to pick up the new MapWay for its customers all through Europe. As Bob Bamforth writes on

"If Vodafone or any other operator can link the direction service with what's on offer at the destination location, they could generate an untapped source of follow on revenue".

Mobile advertising boom in India

By 2003, mobile advertising will surpass online advertising revenues. The fact emerges from a recent press release by OneTele on eMediaWire. However it isn't exactly quoted the research firm that came up with this data.

Boeing builds the buzz online for 7E7

"Because" is the nickname of Boeing's new campaign designed to answer the questions "Why a new airplane?," "Why now?" and "Why the 7E7?" to promote the new 7E7.
Advertising is targeted at potential customers, suppliers and partners in the program, the Company said. But Boeing also wants to reach the banks that might help finance the program.
I've collected some of the ads I've been presented with on Aviation Now.
Here is an example.
For two more banners click here and here.
I can't really say that I like it. It's a very simple and not very attractive. Maybe I just don't completely understand b2b advertising approach.
The 7E7 has also a special Web site that features the "7E7 Experience Zone"
To read more on the campaign have a look at today's article on The Wichita Eagle.

A new era for Sponsorship

The Internet enables marketers to translate offline sponsorship activities online, as well as to insert unique aspects. This is the introductory statement by Joseph Jaffe in his latest column on iMediaConnection. It offers a very good overview on how online sponsorship work and on how they can be used as a very powerful tool for branding on the Internet. There's also an explanation of the GM Chevrolet case study.

Monster says goodbye to AOL and MSN

Monster Inc. said it will not renew online advertising agreements with America Online Inc. and MSN Internet Service. It will instead redirect about $50 million per year on targeted, national and local marketing initiatives to raise its overall advertising mix, including broadcast. You can read more about it on Yahoo! News.

China Online Advertising Spending is growing

China's spending on online advertising grew to 360 million yuan ($1=CNY8.28) in the first half of 2003, putting it on track to beat forecasts for the full year, Shanghai iResearch Co. said. Advertisers are now allocating more money to Internet-based advertising. The news is reported on Yahoo! News.

August 04, 2003
You'll love that contextual ad

Selling ads that appear alongside Web search results is becoming a serious business, even for small Web sites owners. A good review of Google AdSense and Content Match by Overture is online today on the New York Times (free reg.). It explains the strategies and points of view of the two search engines offering a good overview of the "contextual advertising" market and industry.

Summer blogging

As you might have noticed, my blogging activity last week as been rather... weak :-)
Sorry guys, I'm back in Italy, and I'm back to work, and last but not least, there are about 35 degrees outside. It's too hot to blog! Anyway I don't quit, no way, I just post less giving more space in my life to more refreshing activities, like reading, swimming and my new passion... kayaking!

August 01, 2003
Paid Search Is 'Hot'

Paid search, a form of online advertising, will increase almost 50 percent this year to $1.6 billion, powering a modest recovery in web advertising. Jupiter Research expects online display ad sales to turn around next year, growing by 15 percent. In 2005 and 2006, the growth rate is projected to be 20 percent. More on TechWeb.

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