Live from AdTech: Rich Media Performs for B-to-B Campaign

(Direct Newsline) Businesspeople don’t have time to contend with “cool” online technology. Flash and other rich media doesn’t dazzle them. They want marketers to get right to the point or they click elsewhere.

Microsoft exploded those misconceptions in a rich media campaign it ran for its new Tablet PC.

“Because it was not just a new product but a new product category, we realized we had to go after influential businesspeople,” said Dane Hulquist, director of interactive strategy at MRM Partners, the agency that handled Microsoft’s campaign, at a session at AdTech on Tuesday.

To reach the target audience, MRM partnered with CBS MarketWatch.com. To show the power of the product, the ad mimicked the product. As users logged onto CBS MarketWatch, they saw a pop-up that formed itself into an animated thumbnail sketch of a screen on which a stylus was magically writing and drawing. A slogan appears: “The future is here. Tablet PC.” Then, the CBS MarketWatch home page materialized, showing a stylus inking all over it. The inking faded quickly away, and the user could read the articles on the site.

Viewers received different calls to action including a sweeps sign-up and a Microsoft e-newsletter registration. About 100,000 people subscribed to the e-newsletter, and the effort delivered double-digit lifts in product awareness, Hulquist said.

Why was the ad successful? Because even though it was rich media, it ran only for eight seconds and showed the benefits of the product immediately, said Hulquist and Scot McLernon, executive vice president of sales and marketing at CBS MarketWatch.

“We had very few complaints,” said McLernon. But when he explained to those who complained that the ad was cookie-generated to appear just one time per user each week, they usually dropped their complaints.

“There’s a fine line you have to walk between intrusiveness and impact,” said Bill Wreaks, managing director of Doremus Media Group. “They say you can never be too rich or too thin, but in b-to-b, it’s about enriching your experience. You can be too rich.”

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