Capitol Records Finds Success with Country Singer Video Avatar

A new online campaign, created by Innovate Ads for Capitol Records, features overlaid and clickable video pitches by country music star Trace Adkins.

The ads appear on 25 country music station Web sites in 14 U.S. markets. It is the second Capitol Records campaign to use Innovate’s “video spokesperson” technology to advertise Adkins, but the latest ads are much more advanced than the prior effort, said Innovate Ads President John Cecil.

“The other was just Trace Adkins,” said Cecil. “There were no graphics and it just went to a ‘buy’ page on Amazon.” Nevertheless, more than 495,000 people viewed the first video avatar ad featuring Adkins and more than 57,000 clicked to go to his buy page according to Innovate.

In the current campaign, Adkins strolls onto the bottom left of the Web page, sits before a red Valentine and begins talking. Viewers who scroll over the Flash 8-based overlay video are given a toolbar that allows them to cancel it while those who click are taken to another Web page where they can view Adkins’ new music video, register for a trip to Paris and buy his album. Cecil would not reveal metrics for the current campaign, which ends Dec. 31, other than to say “we have double-digit click-throughs.”

For the campaign, an Innovate production team went to Nashville and recorded 25 individual videos in which Adkins mentions the radio stations and, in some cases, talks about other events in the targeted city. The arrangements with the radio stations were laid out beforehand by Capitol, said Cecil.

“We were the middleman between Capitol Records and the radio stations,” he explained. Each radio station’s Webmaster inserts a line of code into the site that directs browsers to launch the video spokesperson overlays once the main Web page is fully displayed. The videos are hosted on Innovate’s servers and displaying them does not impact the radio stations’ bandwidth.

Cecil said he didn’t know if Capitol made payments to the stations, but he said the fact that the videos are individualized is a benefit to the stations.

“It’s a new version of an old trick,” said Cecil. “The old trick is when you are listening to the radio and you hear, `Hey, this is Trace Adkins. Thanks for listening.’ This is basically the Web version of that. For the individual radio stations, it’s great.”

Cecil said about 90 percent of the videos used in Innovate campaigns are shot in-house where quality can be assured.

“With most of the businesses in this space, nobody is talking about production quality,” he said. “End users make assumptions about your product based on the quality of the video� That sort of thought process isn’t being discussed about the Web, but it’s important.”

Innovate Ads is a division of Innovate Media Group.

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