ONSALE/ZDTV Ads Integrate Internet and Television

ZDTV, an affiliate of Ziff-Davis and Internet auction house ONSALE Inc. launched television advertising that features technology that lets live online auction information be presented in a television commercial.

The commercials will air daily during ZDTV’s Money Machine television show, a program on how to make, manage and save money using computers and the Internet.

Developed by ONSALE’s San Francisco-based interactive advertising agency, Lot21, the advertising combines the Internet and television to target ZDTV’s tech-oriented viewers with real-time information about the latest deals on computer gear available at ONSALE. Spending on the campaign was not disclosed.

During the 10-second introduction of the commercial, a signal is sent to a computer that collects live auction information directly from ONSALE. This information is then inserted into the commercial, featuring a product currently being auctioned on the Web site. The information also includes quantity, suggested retail price, and the current bid (5 to 45 minutes prior to air time). The final 15 seconds of the commercial is pre-taped. The 60-second spot appears seamless, and constantly updated, to the viewer.

“Consistently going to a live site and pulling current data to be included in a television advertisement is something that has never been done to this extent before,” said Kate Everett-Thorp, president and CEO of Lot21.

Presentation of the current ONSALE auction information is made possible through the use of Macromedia’s Generator software. Macromedia Generator is new server-based software for automating and personalizing Web site graphics–such as headlines, ad banners, and other live or frequently updated data. Macromedia Generator enables up-to-the-minute information feeds to be presented in a graphical format.

“These commercials leverage ZDTV’s unique ability to integrate the Web and television. Moreover, our tech-savvy viewers get up-to-date information about the latest computer gear–and ONSALE gets a real-time sales opportunity,” said Richard Fisher, executive vice president of ZDTV and ZDTV productions.

“One of the keys to the company’s success is customer interaction,” said Jerry Kaplan, ONSALE’s chief executive officer. “Using television to extend the reach of interactivity is a new step for us, and we expect it will contribute to the continued growth of our customer base.”

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