MSN to Distribute, Sell Ads for JibJab Films

Creative studio JibJab Media has hired MSN to distribute, sell ads, and develop product-placement opportunities on five new short films, to be shown on MSN Video and JibJab.com.

JibJab founders Gregg and Evan Spiridellis will debut their latest short, “Big Box Mart,” which parodies super-sized retailers such as Wal-Mart, on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Thursday night. After that, the video will be available online exclusively through MSN Video and JibJab.com.

For the first time, MSN will sell ads to appear outside its own network, handling the ad sales duties for JibJab.com for at least its next five films. MSN will sell video ad units next to the JibJab films on both MSN and JibJab and will work with JibJab and its advertisers to develop product placement opportunities in future JibJab short films.

“JibJab is rightly recognized as the leader of viral animation videos; its hip irreverence and equal-opportunity parody [are] a great match for MSN Video,” said Todd Herman, director of advertising and business strategy for video, movies, and TV at MSN.

MSN also has secured the rights to show films from the JibJab archives. The studio rose to Internet fame in 2004 with its political parodies “This Land” in July, “Good to be in DC!” in October, and “Second Term” in November. The films spread virally via email and word of mouth, and JibJab quickly gained a broad audience for its work.

This isn’t the first high-profile online distribution relationship JibJab has entered. It struck a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo in December 2004 for two animated shorts, “Grumpy Santa” and “Inauguration Day.” In May, the studio was commissioned by Anheuser-Busch to produce two short films for the Budweiser brand, with more community-based marketing programs with user-generated content initiatives promised for this fall.

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