AOL, GM Team on Broadband Video Ad Integration

In a deal that provides an inkling of how AOL sees the future of broadband video advertising, the media giant is teaming up with General Motors’ GMC division to embed the car maker’s brand deep into three new video programming series.

The on-demand broadband video series, available for free on AOL’s Living Channel (http://living.aol.com) gives the company an outlet to sell “contextual” sponsorships to ad buyers looking to do product placements alongside targeted content.

The deal calls for each of the three series — “Cooking with Tyler Florence,” “Home Entertaining with Michele and Gia” and “Home Improvement with Eric Stromer — to incorporate a GMC vehicle in the action. In addition, AOL will run pre-roll GMC ads during half of the shows’ streams and static banner ads will be fitted into each show’s home page.

According to Mark Ellis, regional vice president of sales at AOL, the pact also calls for 20 GMC-branded custom “Trade Secrets” videos to run in a sidebar. These videos will spotlight quick tips from the experts in the various shows, a cross-match of content and advertising that the company hopes will attract big budget advertisers.

“There’s a huge appetite from advertisers to do more of this type of contextual based advertising,” Ellis said in an interview with ClickZ News. “But it has to work for publishers too. The content has to be authentic or the viewers will reject it. You have to get a little lucky sometimes where the content and desire for integration really line up,” he added.

“This is a good example where it lined up perfectly. It has been a long collaborative process where our creative people sat down with GMC and came up with a plan that works for both of us,” Ellis said.

In all, the three series will provide 78 three- to five-minute online video episodes. Each video will also be distilled into smaller, more portable components, including step-by-step photo galleries, audio podcasts, printable instructions, and send-to-phone capabilities.

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