Today’s New York Times has an interesting feature about FedEx’s first foray into web-video advertising. Starting today you’ll find a series of clips extolling the virtues of FedEx in the form of three(ish) minute skits at youtube.com/getinfotained. FedEx has brought in veteran comedy writer, Bob Odenkirk, to direct each skit – which play as parodies of the classic infomercial formula.
The move to the web follows FedEx’s surprise decision to forgo ad space in the last Super Bowl after 20 years as a notable advertiser. At the time, the company felt like the expense ($3 million for a 30-second spot this year) was unjustifiable in light of the economic downturn. As FedEx’s director of advertising makes clear to the NY Times, the reach and relative affordability of the web has become impossible to ignore:
Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at FedEx, said the new infomercial campaign reflected FedEx’s acknowledgment of the growing sentiment that “lunchtime is the new prime time,” meaning that the multitudes who watch videos online while chomping sandwiches in cubicles rival those wielding remote controls at night.
“We’re still very involved in television, especially with all our sports and sponsorship support,” Mr. Pacheco said. “But digital advertising and communication is taking a bigger role in the overall plan, because we try to scale our media plan to be where our customers are.”
As part of Lance Armstrong’s comeback and Livestrong campaign, Nike has created a way for you to get personally involved in the Tour. The robot, known as Chalkbot, prints user submitted messages on the streets of the Tour de France.
If your message is accepted you will receive a picture of the printed message as well as the location so you can figure out when the riders will be passing it. You can submit your message online or via text message to get in on the action!
According to The Economist, online advertising will be relatively unscathed during the economic downturn. EMarketer agrees that we will still see growth in online ad spend, but has revised their growth projections for search advertising from a predicted 14.5% growth in 2009 to a 8.9% growth rate in the new year.
Some of the arguments: “Online marketing increasingly aims for awareness, consideration, preference and loyalty all at once…Marketing managers can therefore defend their online budgets as being both above and below the line.” And in relation to traditional forms of advertising: “All this makes spending on [online] advertising much less speculative, so that it starts to be treated instead as a cost of sales.”
So marketers will again have new options for ad placement, plus new and exciting ad formats on Google properties. I think Danny Sullivan summed it up best when he said “The economic times are getting tougher, so Google’s doing its own form of “Drill, baby, drill” and tapping into reservoirs it has left untouched until now.”
Here’s a summary of the new ad formats in the works, but you can read Danny’s article on Advertising Age here.
1. “Show Products” Ads — Very cool for ecommerce sites. This ad format provides a little plus symbol under the ad copy that says “Show Products From [Merchant Name]“. Users can click on the plus symbol and product listings with images will appear beneath the ad, pushing competitors ads down the page (extra cool). Will we see this in time for Christmas?
2. Google is testing ads on Google Image Search – Banner ads (yep) have started appearing on Google Image search, near the bottom of the page. People have also seen adwords listings with images next to the ad copy.
3. Google is testing “Promoted Videos” on YouTube – Just like Adwords for video. These ads run alongside the normal YouTube search results, and allow advertisers to promote their video content on YouTube on a CPC basis.
4. YouTube “Click to Buy” links – Now you can see these links below some videos. It allows viewers to purchase products related to the videos they are viewing. It generates some revenue for Google, helps calm some compyright infringement issues, and it helps publishers convert viewers to a sale. Very clever. It makes me wonder how many times I would have bought something directly from my TV, after viewing a commercial, if I had that option. Probably too many times, especially during those super motivating infommercials…
5. More ads at Google Maps – We’re starting to see text ads show up beneath the map area on some maps.
…Hyundai first introduced cars here in the US? They were tiny, egg shaped, econo cars that, if I remember correctly, you could get for $5k or $6k. Apparently they’ve come a long way in 15 years or so. They’ve got their new Genesis that they’re advertising, and they’ve got a pretty slick microsite for that model.