Yahoo! Pitches Rich Media Ads Through ONE Media Campaign

Looking to spice up its advertising spaces and revenues, Yahoo on Monday announced a deal with San Francisco design company ONE Media to bring a “who’s who” in design to both companies’ online advertising.

The new “Designer Ads” campaign brings together artists from several disciplines from architecture to industrial to interior to graphics to fashion. The list of designers includes well-known names such as Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, Paul Frank, Karim Rashid, Erik Adigard, and Romero Britto.

Santa Clara-based Yahoo and ONE Media tapped the artists to create ads in the portal’s skyscraper and 336-by-280 pixel ad spaces. Most of the ads were storyboarded before being translated to the Web, much like television spots.

On the surface, the campaign is aimed at promoting ONE Media and its magazine, ONE: Design Matters. Graves’ ad, for instance, uses animated, swirling images of the Sheraton Miramir Hotel in El Gounda, Egypt, which he designed in 1997. The spot ends with the pitch: “Click here for more Michael Graves,” which links to a bio in ONE: Design Matters‘ online edition.

But the cunningly titled “Designer Ads” campaign has a second purpose. While they’re using splashy rich media animation to show off the artists’ work, the spots are also promoting Yahoo as a advertising outlet flexible enough for high-quality creatives.

In that sense, then, “Designer Ads” has a double meaning: it’s also the name of the game for the Web portal. Like many of its peers, Yahoo has been seriously injured by the downturn in online advertising, but the Internet giant is aiming to right itself by touting how it can deliver innovation-friendly ad spaces and customized campaigns. At one time, Yahoo was known for accepting only very basic advertising formats, and, since it was one of the biggest players in the space, advertisers and agencies were forced to accept that stance. Now, with the change in the online advertising environment, Yahoo is touting its flexibility.

“The Internet is a place where new ideas and creativity are encouraged and have flourished,” said Murray Gaylord, Yahoo’s vice president of brand marketing. “We continue to embrace this proposition and look for ways to foster innovative marketing to meet our partners’ unique needs. Working together, ONE Media and Yahoo have assembled some of today’s most influential designers to push the boundaries of online advertising.”

The ads will run through July on Yahoo’s main sites as well as Yahoo en espanol and Yahoo Brazil.

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