IAB Ads Look to Sell the Medium

The online publishing and ad sales industry, represented by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, its largest trade association, will make its pitch to advertisers in a multi-million dollar campaign that seeks to increase online advertising spending.

Beginning Monday and continuing throughout the year, ads designed by Stein Rogan & Partners for the New York-based media sellers organization will aim to reach planners and buyers with online advertising success stories that stress Internet interactivity’s benefits to cross-media campaigns.

The gist of the work is that by encouraging consumers to interact with brand elements, marketers can foster greater awareness, favorability and purchase intent — more so than can static media. The executions share the tagline, “Interactive is the active ingredient in the marketing mix.”

The position came about as a result of a survey by New York-based Stein Rogan, designed to winnow down the online medium’s strengths into a single proposition.

“As we continue to mature as a medium, we need to treat interactive as a brand, and the manner in which we position ourselves as an industry is critical to driving the success and adoption of interactive advertising and marketing in the years ahead,” said IAB President and Chief Executive Greg Stuart. “We have to speak with the same voice so that we clearly communicate our unique value to all parties.”

Media for the campaign — which includes Web inventory, streaming ads, newsletter placements and dedicated opt-in emails — has been donated by IAB membership. The campaign also will include a smattering of direct mail and print executions, thanks to partners like the Newspaper Association of America and MediaNews Group.

IAB affiliate members and friends of the trade association — such as Dynamic Logic, Unicast, and Underscore Marketing — will provide campaign testing, ad technology, research and strategy. Seattle-based Avenue A’s Atlas DMT unit will serve and track the campaign.

The survey, fielded by Insight Express, said that almost 80 percent of major brand marketers and agency executive surveyed felt that interactive media and marketing must now be considered a mainstream medium. Sixty-nine percent said that their opinions on the effectiveness and importance of online media has shifted positively during the past 12 months, while more than 60 percent said their organizations or clients were less resistant to interactive marketing.

The campaign comes as the largest move to date by the IAB — which represents sellers of 75 percent of the industry’s inventory — in its continuing effort to convince advertisers to boost their online ad budgets.

Earlier this month, the association launched its second, expanded media mix study; the first version, released in February, analyzed the branding and sales impact that Unilever experienced from increasing the online ads supporting the launch of its Dove Nutrium Bar.

About a year earlier, the IAB endorsed research from DoubleClick , Microsoft’s MSN and others that indicated that Web ads had a branding effect.

“A growing body of research is proving the effectiveness of interactive — particularly pertaining to its ability to drive brand metrics,” said Tom Stein, president and CEO of Interpublic-owned Stein Rogan. “Clearly we have moved from the ‘early-adopter’ phase of the medium to the ‘early mainstream’ phase, and this has profound implications for the industry.”

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