IAB breaks charm offensive for interactive marketing

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau debuted a new integrated ad campaign promoting interactive marketing almost two years after its maiden effort with a superheroes theme.

With a tagline of "Media More Engaging," the most recent IAB effort aims to emphasize how interactive advertising is the only medium that intersects between the three prongs of audience, effectiveness and experience. It targets brand marketers, marketing professionals and agency executives.

"The purpose of the campaign is really to communicate the benefits and the overarching position for interactive advertising," said Sheryl Draizen, senior vice president and general manager of the IAB, New York.

Readers, both print and online, are invited to visit a microsite at http://www.iab.net/mediamoreengaging. Designed as an interactive advertising primer, the Web site evangelizes interactive media like e-mail, gaming, display ads, online video, local, mobile, search and lead generation.

Print, online push

Print ads run in the first wave in branding trade magazines such as Advertising Age and Adweek. The ads, while not pro bono, are placed at discounted rates.

Online, banners will run on IAB member sites. Search engine marketing, streaming videos, mobile marketing and gaming are also part of the media plan.

The campaign is scheduled to run through mid-2007.

Brand New World handled the creative aspects of the campaign, billing the IAB for its services. Havas Media's Media Contacts media network is responsible for media planning, buying and trafficking on a pro bono basis.

"Really the idea with the campaign is to employ all interactive tactics available to marketers," Ms. Draizen said.

Brand New World is a New York-based shop that has done work for Johnson & Johnson and The Discovery Channel. Media Contacts has offices in 22 countries, serving clients such as Fidelity, France Telecom, ING Direct, Nike, Repsol, Vonage, Volkswagen, Dell, Expedia and Air France.

The IAB, whose members include 300 advertisers, publishers and agencies, also hired Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research to provide qualitative and quantitative research that demonstrates the role of interactive media and highlights its interactivity and targeting and tracking abilities.

Search and display

While television and print media still account for the bulk of marketing budgets, interactive advertising is rapidly taking share from both channels.

The IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers on Nov. 14 announced interactive ad revenue for the third quarter jumped 33 percent to $4.2 billion from the year-ago period. It was also a 2 percent increase from the second quarter's $4.1 billion.

Overall, interactive ad revenue for last year was estimated at $12.5 billion, including search marketing.

"If you look at the first three quarters of 2006, we're actually close to surpassing 2005," Ms. Draizen said. "So it means that we'll be probably be between $16 [billion] and $17 billion for 2006."

Robert Coen, senior vice president and director of forecasting at Universal McCann, projects that total U.S. advertising spending across all channels for 2006 will reach an estimated $292 billion.

Online, search is the most popular advertising option with marketers. The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization estimates U.S. and Canadian advertisers last year spent $5.75 billion on search marketing, a 44 percent increase from 2004.

Given that ratio, search is on track to account for almost one out of two dollars spent on interactive marketing.

"We're seeing right now that search is about 40 percent of total interactive revenues," Ms. Draizen said. "Display accounts for about 31 percent and classifieds revenues account for about 20 percent. I would say that e-mail's roughly 2 percent. What's interesting for direct marketers is that lead generation accounts for about 7 percent.

"I think what we're seeing is increases across the board," she said. "Marketers are realizing that there's not only a benefit of including interactive as part of their overall marketing mix, but that it is important to include all the pieces of interactive. The combination within the mix of interactive is also very powerful."

Moo interactive

Still, even though interactive advertising is gaining traction with marketers and agencies, the need for touting its benefits is there.

If anything, the "Media More Engaging" campaign is similar to ongoing branding efforts by lobbies for the beef, poultry, dairy and pork industries.

The "got milk?" campaign from the American Dairy Association or "The Other White Meat" initiative from the National Pork Board, like the IAB's new outreach, push for more consumption of their core product.

"I think that every trade association, every media, runs a branding campaign," Ms. Draizen said. "Both feedback received from the marketer and the agency worlds wanted the interactive industry to articulate very clearly the benefit of interactive advertising. As you can imagine, there are so many facets to interactive advertising."

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