Unicast Bolsters Superstitial With Larger-Capacity Version

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Rich media advertising firm Unicast yesterday unveiled the next generation of its Superstitial ad format, called Superstitial 300. The new version joins the company's original Superstitial format, now dubbed Superstitial 100.

The Superstitial 300 format lets advertisers convert a 30-second television commercial into an online ad. The new format can accommodate up to 300 kilobytes of data. Like the original version, Superstitial 300 offers advertisers two-thirds of a screen to work with. It also offers simulated 3-D display, extensive microsites and the ability to use in-ad forms, printing, viral elements and Flash action scripts.

Superstitial 100 can handle up to 100 kilobytes of data and accommodate ads up to 20 seconds in length.

"The Superstitial 300 provides increased creative flexibility for advertisers," said Allie Shaw, Unicast's vice president of worldwide marketing. "It's not something that everyone will need, however."

Unicast already has two advertisers using Superstitial 300: diamond company DeBeers and motion picture studio Universal Studios, Shaw said. Universal is using the format to promote its new film starring Russell Crowe, "A Beautiful Mind."

Though the larger size of the new Superstitial may be good news to some advertisers, probably not everyone will readily embrace the concept, said Bill McCloskey, CEO of rich media trade group Emerging Interest LLC.

"It took awhile to load on my computer," McCloskey said of a demo version of a Superstitial 300 he accessed. "300k is a lot of information. But you may face undelivery problems. People may not stick around long enough to wait for it to load."

Shaw said, however, that this is not a problem with Superstitials because they are loaded into the Web browser's cache when a page the ad is running on is accessed.

"They are all loaded before they are ever played," she said. "Superstitials are guaranteed to play for every consumer or not at all."

Shaw called the criticism of the Superstitial 300 nothing more than "professional jealousy."

Unicast also is vigorously enforcing its patent on the Superstitial format. The company sent cease and desist letters to Enliven, VIPcast, BlueStreak and EyeBlaster, urging those companies to stop using similar technologies. Shaw said Unicast is not looking for others to license its technology, but rather to leave the market to Unicast alone.

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