How ESPN and Ford Created the F-150 Ad

  |  January 9, 2009   |  Comments

First ads in site redesign are a cut above standard digital ad fare.

ESPN.com introduced a redesign this week that was accompanied by a unique execution from Ford for its new F-150 truck. In the ad, ESPN sportscaster Jay Harris -- appearing within a video player -- is splashed with mud from the truck as Ford spokesperson Mike Rowe walks toward the screen, lauding "the all new '09 F-150 and the new ESPN."

From a technological perspective the ad was a cut above standard Web advertising fare, juxtaposing two video segments with Flash animation. (View the follow-up ad here)

"We used green screen technology to walk a spokesperson out on top of a display space, interacting with another piece of video content in a simulated video player," said Marc Greenleaf, executive producer at Second Thought, the New York production company that designed the ad for Ford's agency, Wunderman Team Detroit.

Second Thought coordinated the integration of video segments that were shot separately at ESPN headquarters and a Los Angeles studio.

"The ad represents a new kind of home page takeover, with the advertiser interacting with the publisher," said Sarah Ripmaster, VP of auto vertical sales at PointRoll, which served the second execution of the Ford video ad on Thursday. She noted a traditional home page takeover consists exclusively of the advertiser's creative in a standard display unit, which may or may not include a floating element. "Here the video looks like the ad is interacting with the page content," she said.

The ad is part of an effort by ESPN to increase advertising opportunities on its Web presence. The large video player in which Harris appears "is going to be the main driver for how we tell stories on the site and provides a much larger video presence," said Lisa Valentino, ESPN's vice president of digital and mobile ad sales. The player replaces a smaller video screen that previously resided on the right side of the page. "The content runs front and center in a larger format, which we think is more compelling."

ESPN's redesign also speeds up the site, which Greenleaf said factored into the ad's execution. "ESPN's goal was to speed up load time and minimize file size," Greenleaf said. "We spent time optimizing the ad for a fast load. We wanted to do an ad that was interesting but not at the expense of slowing down the site."

The pre-stitial is capped at one view per user per day, but visitors to ESPN.com will continue to see a variety of other placements that also play into the redesign. New banner options have been created, from large 300x250 and 300x100 pixel units to small pencil strips of 924x50 and 924x56 pixels. Ford is using them all to "reinforce the interplay of Rowe and Harris and the message of 32 years of truck leadership," said Mark Russell, president of Wunderman Team Detroit.

Bobby Tulsiani, a Forrester Research analyst, says the extended advertising opportunities associated with ESPN's redesign are emblematic of the new way media companies are monetizing their sites.

"They're playing rich engaging videos that tell more of a story than a banner. As advertising ills hit the old forms of media it will take this type of rich experience to generate a high CPM... There's increasing pressure on media companies to monetize their Web brands in the down-turned environment, so we're going to see these types of executions roll out."

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...