Like eyes drawn to obnoxious gyrating silhouettes, could anyone resist reading the New York Times piece about those damn LowerMyBills ads this morning? Well, I couldn’t. I was especially intrigued by the title, “Don’t Like the Dancing Cowboys? Results Say You Do.”
“Really?” I thought. Those ads get good CTR? They drive lots of leads? Well, I guess there’s some reason for their virtual ubiquity. Turns out readers will find practically no support for the implication that we can’t quit them cowboys (dreadlocked roof carousers, puppy dogs in shades, etc.).
Though we learn that the firm spent $74.6 million on ads in the first 11 months of 2006, (TNS Media Intelligence data that actually was found via ClickZ), we’re also expected to make the leap that “The surprising success of the ads led LowerMyBills to a significant payday: the credit agency Experian bought the eight-year-old company for $400 million in 2005.” I don’t doubt that the ads garner click-throughs that, in-turn, lead to…uh…leads. But surely sponsored search links, along with SEO and other marketing (e-mail advertising perhaps?) might also contribute to the firm’s success. And of course, there just may have been other factors considered in the Experian acquisition, too.
As for any other evidence of the ad campaign’s success, it’s murky at best. Here’s what I gathered: Evidently, the chick who creates the ads (35-year-old LA graphic artist Jennifer Uhll, former LMB creative director and now entrepreneur), not only shared her fascination with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” pet tricks, but it seems must have told a Times reporter that her ads get great CTR. Here’s how the article puts it:
LowerMyBills, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., declined to say exactly how effective its ads are, and it seemed eager to prevent that information from becoming public. After Ms. Uhll spoke to a reporter, she said, the company sent her two e-mail messages and a formal legal letter, warning of her continued obligations and saying it was “extremely sensitive to the disclosure of confidential information.”
Oh, and do you think the Media and Advertising section story bothered to make even one mention of ad networks? Ha.
I’ll refrain from the Jayson Blair jokes….
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