Updated: Yahoo is pushing its expertise in various verticals in a new online/offline trade campaign that asks agencies and advertisers if they "Need a Marketing Engine?" Initial ads target the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and entertainment industries, but they'll be followed up with creative for the automotive, travel and hospitality, and technology verticals.
The year-long campaign's theme plays off Yahoo's "Life Engine" consumer campaign, in which it portrays itself as a tool users can employ in various parts of their lives. The concept for the campaign came from agency of record Soho Square, but Yahoo created the online ads in-house. The company declined to divulge spending for the effort.
Creative shows pictures of executives who have used Yahoo to market their companies' products, in a testimonial form similar to the Interactive Advertising Bureau's "superhero" campaign.
"It's kind of interesting that this is the first time that Yahoo has seriously attacked the issue of trade advertising," said Jerry Shereshewsky, whose title at Yahoo is ambassador plenipotentiary to Madison Avenue. "We have been living quite nicely on the leading edge marketers, but we think it is important for the industry in general, and for Yahoo in particular, to reach out to the later adopters."
In the ads designed to appeal to CPG marketers, Pepsi-Cola North America SVP and CMO Dave Burwick is pictured wearing a t-shirt that says "Fizz Engine." (Pepsi has been one of Yahoo's most longstanding and loyal clients.) In some executions, mousing over the ad results in the appearance of cartoon-style bubbles that tout different aspects of Yahoo's products that might be of interest to CPG marketers. One says, "Stir it up with a customized integrated online and offline promotion from Yahoo" Another says, "There's no guessing if your online ads made offline sales pop with Yahoo Consumer Direct provided by AC Nielsen."
Clicking on the ad takes users to a special landing page designed to connect marketers with Yahoo's category development officer for CPG, Blake Chandlee. A link on that page links to Chandlee's bio and his contact information. It also connects users with Yahoo's new hub site for advertisers, advertising.yahoo.com.
The creative executions aimed at entertainment marketers feature Dwight Caines, SVP of worldwide digital marketing strategy at Sony Pictures. Caines sits in a plush movie theater, munching popcorn and wearing a t-shirt that reads "Butts in Seats Engine." On the interactive versions of the ads, one bubble pops up to say, "Millions of movie lovers live on Yahoo Build buzz before and during opening weekend to ensure they'll pour through the doors."
These ads, too, link to a microsite touting entertainment-oriented capabilities, like targeting for users' interest in certain genres and film-specific offerings like trailers and online ticket sales. The page links viewers to Yahoo's Carol Terakawa, executive director of sales for the entertainment industry.
Similar ads featuring executives from Sheraton, Intel and Chrysler will appear in later iterations of the campaign.
The online ads broke this week on NYTimes.com, the Wall Street Journal Online, AdAge.com and Adweek.com. They'll also appear across the Yahoo network, targeted to users at domains the company has identified as either agencies or advertisers. Among those included, Shereshewsky said, were YR.com, Ogilvy.com, Ford.com and GM.com.
"This is another example of not just talking about what we can do, but showing what we can do," he said.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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