CraveOnline, Evolve Media Corp.'s men's lifestyle site, hired Drew Berkowitz as senior vice president of sales, the company said today.
His mandate includes creating innovative campaign programs for leading brands wanting to reach the site's demographic of men 18 to 34 years old.
"He has great video experience with Goviral and also deep experience in integrating sponsorships with male content - and that's Crave's bread-and-butter," said Mike Dodge, president of AtomicOnline, publisher of CraveOnline and a network of other sites, and a ClickZ columnist.
At GM, Berkowitz launched the U.S. operation of AOL's Goviral video unit, acquired by AOL in January 2011.
CraveOnline's in-house production unit creates custom, rich-media content and ads for clients including Schick, Wrigley, IKEA, Universal, LG, Nikon, Coke, Pepsi, and Unilever, while publishing approximately 5,000 pieces of content per month.
To promote the movie "Resident Evil: Retribution," CraveOnline created what it calls a "3D destructive trailer page," launched on August 20. The promo page appears within the home page navigation bar. It leads to what seems to be a tamer version of the home page. Then, an animated Milla Jovovich walks onto the page and tosses an explosive object over her shoulder, temporarily obliterating the page. As Sony's movie trailer runs in a central box, the destruction shown in the trailer seems to slowly spread to the page surrounding it.
For movies-on-demand distributor In Demand, CraveOnline created a custom home page takeover that turned its usual home page into a comic book in honor of the Comic-Con conference. The art highlighted the distributor's arsenal of comic-book and super-hero movies. In addition, Crave provided custom content such as "Survival Guide to Comic-Con" and "Can't Miss Panels of Comic-Con."
Berkowitz explained, "We take the studio's trailer and create a much more interactive, unique experience. It all starts to take over the whole screen and creates more visual effects to bring that message to the forefront."
CraveOnline also is in production for Prospect Watch, a campaign for NOS Energy Drink. The six-segment video series provides a look at the training and lives of Mixed Martial Arts fighters.
CraveOnline publishes up to 5,000 pieces of content per month, most of it produced in-house. The company plans to expand content areas to include style and technology.
Berkowitz is also responsible for helping CraveOnline meet aggressive growth targets for the next 12 months. In June, it received 16.3 million unique visitors who watched 36 million video streams, according to comScore. Dodge wants to push that to 25 million. Mobile will continue to become a more important channel, as well.
"We recognize that in order to be the number-one male lifestyle site, we need to serve content in the way that guys like to consume it. Right now, that means mobile," Dodge said. "We'll move into the video space in a bigger way, and we're looking to mobile as a big opportunity," said Dodge.
Rather than serving the same content and formats on the small screen, CraveOnline is developing mobile-specific content and ad formats. For example, in the iPhone version of cocktail recipe search site Drinksmixer.com (co-published with sister site SheKnows.com), after you've retrieved your recipe, shaking your phone will deliver a related "you might also like" recipe.
In the fourth quarter of this year, CraveOnline will premiere its first custom brand mobile ad using the 3D Mobile Cube format it developed in-house; Berkowitz would not disclose the advertiser.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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