MSN Donates Weekend Ad Run to Bovine Business Book

Scoring a free two-day ad run on MSN’s homepage would have been considered a remarkable feat had it not been achieved by folks dedicated to being just that. MSN has donated a homepage placement for two ads to Remarkabalize, the firm behind best-selling business book, “The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable.” The ads, which themselves were created pro-bono, will run tomorrow and Sunday on the general-audience site.

“It’s just about as generic a page you can have; it’s like being next to the cash register at Wal-Mart,” commented Seth Godin, author, blogger, and editor of the multi-authored book. The goal, as Godin put it, was not only to write “a book to be bought by people who don’t buy business books,” but to donate all book royalties to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Room to Read Foundation, and The Acumen Fund. Thus far about $200,000 from book sales have been donated to the three charities, according to Godin.

It all started in November 2005 when Microsoft sponsored the launch of the book, co-authored by 33 pundits including Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Robyn Waters. At the launch event, Microsoft offered to give away ad time on its popular MSN homepage to help promote the book and charity effort. In response, Godin created a contest in December soliciting ad contributions from anyone and everyone. The chosen creative comes from Simon Andrews, founding partner of London-based agency Big Picture, and Scott Case, vice chairman, nonprofit services at e-philanthropy site Network for Good. Both spots are 300×250 in size.

The ad will link directly to Amazon.com’s sales page for The Big Moo’s hardcover edition. Remarkabalize allows those who buy the book on its own site to customize cover jackets, add a logo or message, and include a personal introduction inside each book. The company has sold customized editions to corporations and organizations such as Disney, NASCAR and Xerox.

So, how does an ad on what might be considered a “brown cow” page in Godin-speak suit a book that’s meant to be the antidote to mediocrity in the business world? According to Godin, the hope is to reach people beyond the marketers and business executives who have already picked up The Big Moo. “It really rounds out the audience,” Godin explained. “We’ve already talked to the business people; we’ve already talked to the bloggers.”

The book is bound to get plenty of exposure through the ads. According to comScore Media Metrix, MSN-Microsoft sites were the second-ranking Internet properties during February in terms of traffic, garnering more than 110.7 million unique visitors. Remarkabalize isn’t running any paid ads for the book. Though actual cost of the MSN placement could not be determined by ClickZ News, Godin estimated, “It’s got to be well into the six figures.”

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