Ad:tech: Integrated Media Spurs Innovation

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CHICAGO -- This year's ad:tech Chicago is full of discussions about new ways to market products, and the July 25 session "New ... Integrated ... Rich ..." explored innovation through integrated media.

Curt Hecht, senior vice president and managing director at General Motors Planworks, hosted the panel. The other panelists were Phillip Kaplan, chairman and chief product officer at AdBrite; Krishnan Menon, CEO of Phenomenon; Tom Kunau, executive producer of Fallon Minneapolis; and Brett Hurt, founder/CEO of Bazaarvoice.

Panelists presented their firm and the different campaign styles that worked for them.

Mr. Kaplan discussed AdBrite's ad hosting Web site, where an advertiser can buy text ads, interstitials, banner ads, mobile and video ads for a weekly or monthly price to build its own ad network. Marketers can use the site to advertise products and services and have full transparency of clickthrough rates and conversions through analytics.

Consumers are willing to sit through such ads, Mr. Kaplan said.

"People are willing to sit through interstitials on the NYTimes.com because they trust the content," he said. "Whereas if you find a Web site through a random Google search, you'll probably not sit through it."

Mr. Kunau presented a series of integrated ad campaigns including a video, TV and Internet effort for Brawny, a paper towel brand from Georgia-Pacific. The campaign was marketed to women, who could enter their sloppy husbands for an Internet-based reality series to clean them up. It was produced by Fallon in collaboration with Fiesty Flix, producer of the "Survivor" TV show on CBS.

The series sent eight men into the woods with the Brawny man to learn how to clean up their behavior. These short episodes were shown on the Internet and brought consumers back to the Brawny Web site on a weekly basis.

Mr. Menon presented a whole new way to integrate TV with advertising.

"We look for meaning and connections in a virtual neighborhood where we can interact," he said. "TV is typically a conduit that sits in front of us and does not participate in this interaction. This has to change."

He cited examples of television and Internet integrated campaigns like American Idol's text-to-vote effort, which actually generated revenue for the show.

Another example cited was Gold Rush, a new campaign that involves a partnership between CBS and AOL. Viewers are asked to visit a Web site and watch the show to participate and win money.

Mr. Hurt ended the discussion with a presentation on his company. Bazaarvoice is an e-commerce service that brands like Home Depot and Macy's use to host user reviews.

"The difference between Amazon and Walmart.com is user reviews," Mr. Hurt said.

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