Friday, November 18, 2005

Budget Sends Blog Readers On Scavenger Hunt

Budget Sends Blog Readers On Scavenger Hunt

by Shankar Gupta, Friday, Nov 18, 2005 6:00 AM EST

TODAY, THE LAST OF A series of stickers--on signs, drainpipes, and throughout major American cities--will be found by a persistent "hunter," who will win $10,000, courtesy of rental car firm Budget.


Although the stickers are offline, the hunt to find them begins on the Web, in a pure-play online branding campaign for Budget, dubbed Up Your Budget. The campaign is blog-centric--the contest is centered around the blog; contest participants are allowed blogs of their own; and the vast majority of the promotion for the contest was done with advertisements on blogs, largely through the BlogAds network.

The contest is simple: Video clues are posted in the main blog, hinting at where a sticker might be found in a city. The first person to find the sticker and call the 800 number printed on it wins $10,000. The caller must also upload a picture of themselves finding the sticker to the Hunter's Blog--which they receive access to when they register for the contest. The contest spanned four weeks and 16 different cities, from New York to San Diego.

"They came to me in August and said, 'we want to do something viral, we want to do something with blogs'--and by October it was online," said campaign creator B.L. Ochman. "It has exactly been pure-play online, and we've gotten some really wonderful pickup."

Scott Deaver, Budget's chief marketing officer, said the entire contest and promotion--including the $160,000 in prize money--cost less than a single 30-second spot on a highly rated TV show. According to BlogAd's tracking numbers, the campaign, as of Thursday night, recorded 19.9 million impressions on 125 different blogs, garnering 56,446 clicks at a cost of roughly 25 cents per click. The campaign kicked off Oct. 24, and will end today. The ads ran on major, big-name blogs like,, and, as well as smaller-name blogs like,, and

"That was the point, to try some grassroots stuff and try some of the smaller blogs. We wanted to reach a really broad population," said Ochman. No matter what blog you're looking at, if it's consistently reaching its audience, it probably has some loyal following there."

Sarah Fay, a media buyer with Carat Interactive, said the engagement of the audience is precisely the benefit of advertising on blogs. "Blogs in themselves are interesting because of how engaged users are in their participation," Plus, Fay noted, Budget's campaign worked well on the blogosphere because the company made itself part of the community by building its own blog. "If you're going to take full advantage of being on a blog, you want to demonstrate you're in the world of the blogger," she said.


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Thursday, November 17, 2005



Growth Represents Money That Would Have Gone to TV

November 17, 2005


NEW YORK ( –- Spending on online video advertising will triple in the next two years, research firm eMarketer predicts. 


In 2007, the research firm expects the dollars committed to online video ads to climb to $640 million from the $225 million spent this year. By the end of the decade, advertisers will spend at least $1.5 billion on video ads online.


Clambering to get online

Marketers are clambering to get their messages into video ads. Some of the most memorable Web ads this year used video in a way that worked particularly well in the medium: Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, Jeep’s Webisodes and Volkswagen’s short films for its Passat brand. Earlier this year, 21% of U.S. media planners and buyers said online video ads were their primary focus for 2005, according to the eMarketer report.


While $640 million is tiny compared with the $17.8 billion eMarketer predicts will be spent on all online advertising in 2007, it’s significant because of the rate at which that spending is growing -- 66.7% in 2005 and an expected 71% in 2006.


Diverting money from TV

Most significantly, the report said, is that all of that growth represents money that would have been spent on traditional TV.


The central reason for this growth is that consumer broadband hookups have become nearly as commonplace as any other utility. By 2008, 84% of online households and 56% of total households will have broadband.


As important, video ad growth is at a tipping point. “Television and the Internet will find ways to complement each other; winner-take-all is not the name of the game,” Mr. Hallerman wrote.


Also for traditional agencies accustomed to TV, online video makes the Internet more familiar. “Whether it’s a repurposed commercial, extra footage, original advertising made just for online, it still is familiar,” Mr. Hallerman said in an interview.


Actual convergence of TV and video online has not yet occurred. “Online video is inferior to TV in quality,” Mr. Hallerman said. “Until it is better quality, there won’t be convergence.”


A major obstacle is that the there is a lack of inventory in pre-roll video -- the most effective and TV-like form of online video. Pre-roll, also known as in-stream video, is effective because it delivers a captive audience, those who have chosen to see a piece of content and are compelled to watch an ad first. Because these ads are sort of a quid pro quo -- you watch the ad in exchange for being able to view free content -- publishers limit the number of pre-rolls that can be shown.


Publishers are just beginning to beef up their video content offerings enough to accommodate ads. As of earlier this year, only about 30% of all U.S. online publishing sites supported streaming content, according to research quoted in the report.


The lack of standardization among video and among video players on sites is also an issue. “Anything that forces people to download a player before using it makes it take that much longer,” Mr. Hallerman said.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Online health tool gives personalized content, local searches

Online health tool gives personalized content, local searches


A new subscription-based online health tool provides users with customized information and health guidance, personalized content, and local resources, according to ZivaGuide. The site, , is also open for advertisers. Users fill out a questionnaire to personalize content on the site, which also includes a health condition library, a tool to search consumer information on more than 35,000 drugs, a physician locator, news articles, and a list of scholarly health publications that is searchable by condition. ZivaGuide also says it helps users find prescription assistance and connects users with medical care, advice, caregiver help, and other assistance. The site is part of the ZivaContinuum, which also includes informational Web sites on nursing homes for consumers and professionals. 

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