IAR Bits and Bytes

Disney to Launch New Format

The Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Online unit plans to debut a new rich media ad unit, dubbed the “Magic Banner.”

The banner begins as a “takeover” ad near the top of the Web page. Soon after, the ad shrinks into a 630×70 pixel rectangle at the top of the page.

Mazda, which is promoting its new MPV minivan on Disney Web properties, will become the first advertiser using the new format. In the executions, MPVs drive across the top of the page before zooming into a 630×70 pixel ad promoting a co-branded sweepstakes. The ad is slated to run until April 31.

“We remain focused on offering our advertising partners the most imaginative ways to reach our guests,” said Ken Goldstein, Disney Online’s executive vice president and managing director. “Along with offering the highest traffic of any kids and family entertainment site, Disney can now offer the Magic Banner as an innovative tool to increase advertisers’ overall consumer branding impact.”

eUniverse Inks Wireless Content Deal

Los Angeles-based online publisher eUniverse will provide content to wireless entertainment firm Versaly Games, through a new content-sharing deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Through the agreement, Seattle-based Versaly will license content from eUniverse’s Web sites and email newsletters. Versaly develops, publishes and distributes interactive games, digital pictures, audio and video clips and text content for mobile phones.

The content includes jokes, celebrity facts, sports trivia, and items like “Word of the Day,” and will continue to be labeled as coming from eUniverse.

“This is a win-win situation for both companies involved,” said Shawn Gold, chief strategic officer of eUniverse. “We are already creating high quality, short-form content on a daily basis for our huge user base of more than 40 million opt-in subscribers, and Versaly provides us the opportunity to extend our brand, increase our contact opportunities with consumers and drive new streams of revenue.”

MMA Study: Mobile Marketing Effective

While it’s a relatively new medium, new findings suggest that advertising on wireless devices could be highly effective, according to a survey conducted by InterQuest.com and sponsored by the Mobile Marketing Association.

The study, which focused on Short Messaging Service (SMS) ads, found that among more than 700 SMS users in the U.K., Germany and Italy, recall proved fairly high for products mentioned in the campaigns — between 71 percent and 96 percent. The highest measured recall rates were seen within one to three days of the campaign, London-based InterQuest found.

Additionally, the survey found that the campaign had a positive impact on brand favorability in almost half of all cases, while only 7 percent of respondents said the campaigns made them feel negatively about the advertised product.

Meanwhile, about 43 percent of the respondents indicated an increase in intent to purchase after seeing the ad. Fewer than 5 percent of the respondents said the ad decreased their desire to purchase the product or service.

Nearly 70 percent of the respondents said they would recommend their friends receive mobile marketing messages, while 13 percent said they would not.

While the study suggests impressive results from wireless advertising, the findings could be hamstrung by the small sample size. According to InterQuest, only 9 percent of those contacted actually participated in the study, which was conducted entirely via SMS. As a result, participants in the study could easily have skewed toward the “early adopter” — a population likely more receptive to emerging media advertising.

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