Unicast to Keep Enliven Format

Rich media advertising player Unicast said it plans to keep the Enliven format alive, continuing the industry’s earliest rich media format but with a streamlined product line.

New York-based Unicast said the changes in the format, which it acquired through the purchase earlier this month of troubled Enliven Inc., come in response to demand from previous Enliven clients, who requested it simplify the way the format is sold.

Previously, Waltham, Mass.-based Enliven Inc. had offered a slew of more than 10 different ad types, each with a different form of interactivity or shape, ranging from drop-down banners to video-embedded large rectangles.

Now, Unicast will sell Enliven-format ads based only on size — banner, skyscraper, or large rectangle — and allow advertisers to pick-and-choose one or more types of rich media or interactivity they wish to add to the ad. That’s similar to how advertisers and agencies already buy and create ads in Unicast’s flagship format, the Superstitial.

“What we’ve done, because each of those Enliven [ad types] could be used in different sized executions, is to bring some consistency to the market,” Allie Savarino, Unicast’s senior vice president of marketing. “They shouldn’t be unique formats, because we believe that adds to the clutter.”

By reducing the number of available Enliven products, Savarino also said that development and quality assurance testing should become more efficient as a result, and rich media more appealing to clients.

“It takes down the barriers of making [advertisers] confused by having too much thrown at them at once,” she said, adding that advertisers hadn’t understood that they could add more than a single form of rich media to Enliven ads. “They thought it was ‘either-or’, which just makes it more evident that the industry was just overwhelmed with choices.”

Savarino said that Unicast would also continue to develop within the Enliven format, potentially adding new rich media capabilities in the future.

Unicast’s rejiggering of the Enliven product line comes under the firm’s self-appointed mission to reduce the number of ad formats in the marketplace, so as to make the rich media space less complicated for buyers.

In addition to the purchase and reorganization of Enliven, Unicast also is leveraging its recently awarded patent to require sellers of rival formats to exit the space. The firm has already sent “cease and desist” letters to several companies that included Enliven Inc., prior to the sale.

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