Shiv Singh, head of digital at Mountain Dew's parent company PepsiCo, says these tests could have a huge impact on display advertising's future.
Mountain Dew and JC Penney are including the Facebook "Like" button in ad units that will run across display networks starting this weekend.
Shiv Singh, head of digital at PepsiCo, told ClickZ Friday that viewers who click the button will not be taken away from the publisher site they are visiting. Instead, they will be added to Mountain Dew's "Liker" base on Facebook while they can carry on with their article reading and video watching.
At multiple points in the interview, Singh (pictured above) said display brand advertising's future could be on the brink of changing for the better. Not only will advertisers get impressions and clickthroughs for their display ad spends, he said, but also new members to their brand's Facebook community.
When viewers tap the "Like" buttons in the ads, Singh said, "They will be saying, 'We like the brand. We are open to a two-way conversation with the brand.' It's moving the relationship from being an impression to an experience. When display advertising lets us introduce that kind of relationship, it's immensely valuable."
While the Pepsi digital head said he couldn't go into specifics in terms of what networks are being utilized and how many sites the ads will run on, he discussed the breadth of the effort.
"It is a significant [run]. It's not a random little test," Singh said. "What I can tell you is that this is very important to Facebook, and it's very important to us. We both very much believe it will affect the future of display advertising. So you can imagine that for this to work from Facebook's standpoint…they are learning, too. They wanted to make sure that this would be on a scale big enough that there would be good learnings from it. The same is true for us."
Though JC Penney was not contacted for this story, Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta said the clothing retail brand is the social company's second display partner for this test project. In an interview with ClickZ, she added that the efforts were using existing display creative while simply adding the "Like" button.
Later, she e-mailed the following statement about the campaigns: "We think making online ads more personalized by including social context from friends makes them better. We can do this in a way that protects privacy and creates more compelling ad experiences across the web."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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