Ask.com kicks off integrated campaign

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Ask.com kicks off integrated campaign
Ask.com kicks off integrated campaign

Ask.com is running video banner ads and a Facebook-integrated microsite to promote its Ask Deals retail price index search engine. The search Web site indexes prices from around the Web to help consumers save money.

The online media ads are part of an integrated campaign to promote the site, which launched earlier this month. The effort, which includes TV, print and video banner ads, kicked off with broadcast spots.

All of the initiative's creative focuses on the idea of celebrating a great deal. Its goal is to both retain existing users and gain new ones.

“The spirit of the campaign is to let people know that we have deals now on Ask,” said Jared Cluff, SVP of marketing at Ask.com. “The creative is about the celebration of finding a deal.”

The campaign features performers and an MC singing a call to action. The MC asks “Hey ladies/fellas, who wants a deal?” While the singers sing in return, “I do! I do!”

Ask partnered with Omnicom firm Agency.com for the campaign. While the companies have worked together in the past, this is the first time that Agency.com, an interactive firm, created a TV ad for Ask.com.

“Consumers are not on one device all the time, so a good mix of media is still the right strategy,” said Scott Briskman, executive creative director at Agency.com. “It is not new for us to make video content, but it is new for us to make TV. But today interactive agencies have to be able to produce every kind of medium.”

The video banners will run on various online ad networks. The broadcast spots will run across NBC in primetime and on cable on the Bravo, Oxygen, USA and ScyFy channels. The campaign's microsite features an interactive version of the song that consumers can participate in. Users are prompted to enter an item they want a deal on, and to then use their webcam to make a recording of themselves dancing and singing along to the song.

When they are done, users can post videos to Facebook. The goal is to generate viral traffic, as the homemade videos will show up in the participants' news feeds.

The site will require participants to connect via Facebook in an effort to build the campaign virally. Each time a submission is created, a personalized link is posted to that user's news feed. These posts link to the microsite so consumers can watch friends' videos and create new ones.

“Instead of trying to force the entire experience into the banner, we wanted to give them enough to draw them to the microsite,” added Briskman. “This is an interactive concept. We wanted to create something that was participatory, and not just broadcast.”

Ask.com has launched a number of new initiatives this year, including entering a multiyear partnership with Symantec to power the Safe Search function in the site's toolbar.

The Web site also returned to its Ask Jeeves branding in the UK after a three-year hiatus. A study conducted there found that 83% of respondents wanted the mascot, who is a British butler, back. The company also announced it will score all of its paid search clicks using Anchor Intelligence's ClearMark software.

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