The Dannon Co. admits it has been slow to digital advertising, but those days may be at an end. The company has signed on to sponsor various sections of Foodie.com to promote its Activia yogurt brand through the end of April.
"This is new for us," Michael Neuwirth, senior director of communications at Dannon, told ClickZ. "We were not really an early adopter in terms of the shift to digital and, in particular, vertical. As the opportunities like Foodie.com shape up with very focused consumer interest areas, we now see a much clearer opportunity than previously."
Foodie.com, a new site that's part of the Glam Media Network, has also signed up Betty Crocker as a sponsor for cooking sections on the site.
These type of ad buys aren't new, but Dannon and Betty Crocker underscore that vertical content sponsorships still attract top brands. For wide-ranging CPM rates that are typically in the double digits, the brands usually get to re-skin a site's pages as well as run display and video ad placements. As Neuwirth suggested, the general strategy lies in the rather straightforward notion that lining up brands with relevant content - as opposed to running display ads across varied news/information sites on publisher networks - can achieve better branding.
The communications director said advertising on Foodie.com would help stress Activia's fresh ingredients and other attractive qualities as a meals or snacks product. The site's motto is for the love of food.
"It's a chance for us to focus on taste in a very concentrated environment," Neuwirth said. In terms of getting Dannon up to speed with digital marketing, he said, "We're tryng to go from zero to 60 [miles per hour]."
Cable Channel Lauds Video Ads on Vertical Sites
History (formerly History Channel) is another example of a major brand that sees value in sponsorships in vertical niches. It has taken aim at sports fans for TV shows like "Top Shot" and "Swamp People" on properties operated by CBS Sports, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball.
To push its "Full Metal Jousting" program, the cable channel last week wrapped up a 14-day sponsorship at Sherdog.com, a CraveOnline property with content for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans. According to comScore, the site had 1.3 million unique monthly users in December. Past sponsors include Dell, Trojan, Schick Edge, Universal Pictures, and Boost Mobile.
Jayne Hong, senior director of consumer marketing at History, explained why her brand keeps coming back to vertical content sponsorships. She said relevant articles around video ad units, in particular, have proved effective.
"[Our] main objective is to drive tune-in and generate ratings for the network," Hong said.
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.