EyeWonder Ad Nixed For Violating Facebook Connect Rules

  |  January 6, 2010   |  Comments

Ad for a "Fight Club" Blue-Ray DVD ran afoul of Facebook's ad regulations by displaying user content within banner space.

In mid-November, EyeWonder created a banner ad for Fox Home Entertainment's "Fight Club" Blu-Ray DVD release with a unique Facebook tie-in. The new format used Facebook's Connect APIs to let users insert their Facebook content into a Fight Club video clip directly within the rich media banner.

The application violated a Facebook advertising restriction and was taken down after a short time -- the first such occurrence at Facebook Connect, according to Malorie Lucich, a Facebook spokeswoman. "Ads can't display user data, such as name or profile or photo," she said. "It's permissible to post user content on a standalone site, but not within an ad."

The distinction is something marketers must take into account before they utilize Facebook Connect.

Lucich said Facebook is an open platform that is widely used, but when marketers violate a regulation the site intervenes. "We get in touch with the developer and work with them to get in compliance or we remove the ad. We allow them to continue using the restricted material on a standalone site," she said.

The Fox Home Entertainment ad was an EyeWonder unit created by Moxie Interactive. After it launched, Mike Rosner, EyeWonder's SVP of global sales, said it was the first time Facebook Connect has been used to play an ad. "Instead of taking the assets and pushing them out in a widget, we used personal content to pull it in," he said. "You log into Facebook, it goes through the pictures and the next time through it pulls your name and pulls you into the ad. Users love to see their own content, so it's a very engaging experience."

But the execution didn't fly with Facebook, which publishes a long list of advertising regulations, including one that says, "Your ads may not display user data, such as user names or profile photos, whether that data was obtained from Facebook or otherwise."

Rosner originally said EyeWonder was anxious to use the application with other clients, but now that idea is on hold. An EyeWonder spokeswoman declined to comment further. "We don't want to go into what happened in the past. We want to take a fresh approach with Facebook; they're a strategic partner," she said.

Moxie Interactive also declined comment.

Debra Aho Williamson, an eMarketer analyst, noted several recent campaigns have successfully used Facebook Connect to achieve similar ends by hosting mash-up video clips on a destination site. She pointed to Discovery Channel's Shark Week campaign, Frenzied Waters, which pulled a variety of personal Facebook Connect data into a video of a shark attack in which the victim is the Facebook member. She said that campaign, and similar ones from MasterCard and Adidas, proves that Facebook Connect "is bringing personal content outside of Facebook to other Web sites."

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