Fall Showcase: What’s New in Rich Media

It was Nietzsche who said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” For those agencies and online ad creation vendors managing to make ends meet, tenacity and innovation is what’s kept them alive during a worldwide recession.

Much of the advertising world has Macromedia Flash’s product line to thank for standardizing online ad content. But other rich media providers are developing tools that give more options to online advertisers.

This month’s column is a celebration of those companies that have not only managed to keep their doors open during the past year, but which have grown, innovated, and dug in their heels to show the marketplace they have no intention of dropping out of the race.

This Season’s Fashions

Unicast

A player for quite a few years, Unicast was content to occupy a niche in the rich media ad market with its Superstitials. The focus was a good one. It rode the wave of increased pop-up-style advertising while contenders disappeared under the surf.

Unicast is no longer a one-trick pony. With the acquisition of Enliven’s product line and a marketing deal with Ad4Ever, it now offers the Online Format Suite, with a little something for every advertiser. The line now includes In Between-Page ads, Over-Page ads, and In-Page Online ads.

Eyeblaster

Eyeblaster‘s not resting on its laurels. It’s survived critics, technology hurdles, and a chilly economy while growing its client base.

The company expanded its product line by offering floating ad formats. They run the gamut of sizes, from small areas of the browser to full-screen ads. Innovative, entertaining, and attention grabbing, Eyeblaster ads offer the market a nice alternative to traditional online ad fare.

Brilliant Digital

Though 3-D animation doesn’t fit all online ads, there’s no denying these ad types are eye-catching and effective branding tools.

Brilliant Digital offers b3d, a tool that allows advertisers to quickly construct 3-D environments and characters with fully synced sound.

B3d also allows creation of interactive elements. A new technology allows advertisers to create ads that appear to grow out of the browser and spread over the desktop.

Oak Interactive

While the online ad market is still deciding whether floating ads meet the needs of advertisers and consumers, increasingly more players are betting they’ll be around for some time.

Oak Interactive, an Israeli rich-media development house, developed a line of technologies that enhance how on-page and floating ads should work. Using its Jump-out and Jump-slide approaches, Oak Interactive found a middle ground between banner ads and pop-ups. Its site is in Hebrew, so it may take some trial and error (if you don’t read the language) to find your way around. But the samples are impressive.

EyeWonder

While the streaming video market has had difficulty finding a foothold, the folks over at EyeWonder have been going gangbusters. They’re setting up deals with rich media vendors to provide digital video content to the ad industry.

The company made its mark several years ago by introducing video playback that didn’t require additional browser plug-ins. It’s become the preeminent provider of compressed digital video for advertising and Web sites.

NEXTADS

NEXTADS, a rich media ad provider out of Latvia, offers a line of unique formats, including shaped pop-up ads, cursor ads, and full-page overlays. A very impressive portfolio and notable production prices make the company very competitive.

By no means is this a complete list of rich media ad providers. It should prove the online ad market still enjoys diversity and still seeks the magic formula for matching effective online advertising with consumer needs.

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