Rivals Beat Apple to iAd-like Executions on iPad

When it announced the launch of its iAd mobile advertising network in April, Apple made clear it wouldn’t be serving ads to iPad devices until the fall. That hasn’t stopped other advertisers exploiting the opportunity, however, and rival mobile ad companies including Google’s AdMob and mobile rich media provider Medialets have already facilitated recent iAd-like rich media campaigns on the device.

Auto brand Infiniti recently launched a mobile campaign for its QX model across iPhone, Android, and iPad devices via the AdMob network. On the iPad, in-app ads drive users to an in-depth HTML5 experience and invite them to view video content, interact with the car, and visit the Infiniti site from within the application. Overall, the experience is not dissimilar to what’s been promised by Apple’s iAd.

“We’re trying to deliver new and unique user experiences, and work with the canvas of these new devices. For us, it’s about improving the user experience beyond just clicking a banner,” said Michael Awdish, Infiniti’s manager of global digital communications. “The iPad solution is a big benefit for us since the iAd is not yet available on the device,” he explained.

Apple’s iAd format has been slow to get off the ground, with only a handful of campaigns currently live on the iPhone over three months after the official launch of the network. According to reports, the delays have resulted from Apple’s insistence on handling the creative for the campaigns itself.

For the Infiniti iPad execution, AdMob also helped arrange the technical side of the campaign, bringing in The Visionaire Group to build the HTML5 creative based on designs and concepts by Infiniti’s agency TBWAChiatDay.

According to Infiniti’s media manager, Meghan Murphy, mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the brand’s strategy. “It’s a component of all our media plans lately… We’re trying to test as many opportunities as we can,” she said in reference to the range of mobile ad solutions now on offer.

The brand has already purchased iPad ads directly from publishers of applications such as Wired and Popular Mechanics, but the AdMob campaign represents its first foray into dynamically served ads on the device. The campaign is running across a range of iPad applications relevant to the brand’s target audience, such as those in the travel and sports space, Murphy said.

Meanwhile, mobile ad technology company Medialets has also been working directly with publishers to facilitate iAd-like experiences on the iPad. The company recently partnered with interactive agency AKQA to integrate a Visa ad with NPR’s iPad app, which resulted in a long-form, application-like execution.

That campaign was a direct arrangement with NPR, but Medialets’ API is integrated with a range of mobile ad networks, including Jumptap, AdMeld and Mojiva, enabling network ad buys with similar functionality.

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