PointRoll Launches “TomBoy”

PointRoll is repackaging some of its existing rich media capabilities into a new, fixed-frame ad unit the company has dubbed “Tomboy.” The new unit is something of a departure for PointRoll, whose very name comes from the roll-over expanding ads that have been its mainstay thus far.

To accompany the rollout, PointRoll launched a trade campaign with interactive, print and direct mail components. The ads will focus on creative flexibility and the high quality possible with TomBoy. (One tagline is “More K than you know what to do with.”) Spending was not disclosed.

The TomBoy offers no new technology capabilities. Rather its value proposition is in its simplicity of use, PointRoll CEO Jules Gardner said.

Gardner acknowledged the release of a page-locked format may seem odd coming from a company whose name has become synonymous with innovative expanding ads. He said TomBoy is part of a strategy to help phase agencies and advertisers into its other, more creative-intensive units, including its flagship “FatBoy” expanding banner, its floating “BadBoy,” and the similar “TowelBoy.”

“TomBoy is going to be great transitional ad,” said Gardner. “FatBoy is where it’s at. No click necessary; users just roll over the ad.”

For the record, TomBoy is PointRoll’s first girl-branded ad. A little — but tough — girl features prominently in PointRoll’s ads promoting the new unit.

Rich media vendors have lately released a flurry of new formats, and others are preparing to do so in the coming weeks. Most of the new crop of units are geared toward supporting video, an area which is turning into a major theme for interactive marketing in 2004. Unicast has added side-by-side interactivity to its Video Commercial, and Eyewonder last week released a between-page “VideoStitial” unit that aims for the same space.

PointRoll also recently added three publishers to its “included” network of Web sites that offer its units at prices equivalent to banners and simple Flash ads. New included publisher members include Business Week Online and iVillage.

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