American's In-Flight Ads Sailing Along Online

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A rich media campaign for American Airlines running within Market Snapshot stories at CBS MarketWatch.com has performed better than expected for the airline.


The commercials, which were originally developed to run as part of American Airlines' in-flight programming, promote the benefits of booking flights on American Airlines' Web site, www.aa.com.


"The creative is trying to shift American distribution online, which is frankly a lower-cost distribution channel for airlines," said James Hering, director of interactive marketing at Dallas-based Temerlin McClain. The agency decided to use the in-flight spots for the Web after finding that online users could enjoy broadcast-quality images using proprietary technology from Real Networks.


"We have seen a lot of different streaming opportunities in the past," Hering said. "None have done justice to this creative until this opportunity, with the near-broadcast presentation and the speed with which it loads.


"There has been a lot of talk about taking TV creative and making it work online. We all love the emotion, richness behind TV advertising," he said. The technology also lets advertisers use commercials without adapting them to another format, such as Flash.


Though Hering does not have final numbers for the campaign, click-throughs to aa.com have exceeded expectations, he said.


Temerlin McClain developed two versions of the advertisement: one for users with 56K modems and another for those with broadband connections.


MarketWatch visitors who click on the commercial are brought to one of three content sections on American's site: Net Savers, the airline's low fare offers; Flight Status service, which sends flight information directly to customers' cell phones, personal digital assistants and pagers; and Bonus Miles for booking online.


American Airlines chose to run the commercials on MarketWatch base of frequent business travelers, which "has performed very well" for American Airlines in the past, Hering said.


"This technology allows our advertisers to run their existing television creative on our site without launching a separate media player or a new browser," said Scot McLernon, executive vice president, sales and marketing for MarketWatch.com.


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