Fox Launches “Takeover” Ads on Portals

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is promoting the DVD and VHS release of “Cast Away” with “takeover” campaigns on two major Web portals.

From Tuesday until Thursday, the front page of Ask.com will be redesigned in “deserted island” motif, with Ask Jeeves’ mascot butler standing on a beach surrounded by palm trees and coconuts. The effort is meant to evoke Tom Hanks’ role in “Cast Away,” which goes on sale Tuesday in DVD and VHS formats.

Additionally, the ask.com media buy includes a rich media component, which has “Wilson” — the volleyball in the film, named by Hanks’ character — bouncing across the page until it comes to rest on an ad unit with links to the film’s site.

Fox’s buy also featured a similar purchase on iWon.com, which has “Wilson” zipping around the portal’s front page, coming to rest in a 180-by-150 pixel ad unit.

The campaign also includes a second 700-by-200 “takeover” ad — in iWon’s Entertainment section. Appearing on top of the area’s Top Headlines section, the Flash-based ad shows a tropical beach. The creative’s copy, “Discover a journey of hope and survival,” is washed away by a wave, to be replaced with “The journey begins today.” A separate, 206-by-278 pixel ad beside the takeover ad provides links to the film site.

Such ads — which briefly usurp the on-screen space a portal has devoted to its content, often to direct attention to a nearby ad unit — are becoming increasingly common among the big players in Web media. Yahoo, Terra Lycos and Boston.com have all launched several such ads, for advertisers like Ford Motor Co. and Monster.com.

“We sort of look at the landscape and think that online advertising has to be a combination of three different things — engaging, interactive and personalized, and we aim to work with folks who want to fulfill one or more of those three,” said iWon.com co-chief executive Jonas Steinman. “It’s a terrific ad, and it’s delivering very valuable media impressions.”

Takeover ads are “one of a variety of directions people are going in, and it’s effective,” Steinman said. “User feedback has been strong, as long as you keep it lively. People understand.”

The campaign also includes additional pop-ups throughout the portal, also touting the new for-home release, and aiming to drive traffic to the studio’s site.

The film’s site itself features sections about the film, the special edition DVD release, quizzes and games, and a sweepstakes for a survival-adventure trip.

New York-based interactive shop iTraffic, which is owned by Agency.com, oversaw the campaign.

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