ScreenAd delivers media opps to computer desktops

Media suppliers wanting to reach key planners and buyers now have a new advertising tool that delivers messages directly to computer desktops via a screen-saver program, which kicks in when the computer is not in active use.

Media suppliers wanting to reach key planners and buyers now have a new advertising tool that delivers messages directly to computer desktops via a screen-saver program, which kicks in when the computer is not in active use.

ScreenAd Canada of Toronto completes an eight-week test of the product involving 29 advertisers and 11 of the industry’s largest media management firms at the end of this month.

Brian Pearman, a media management veteran who is COO of ScreenAd, says media suppliers are using ScreenAd to present media buyers with special offers or to acquaint them with a new medium.

‘We’re bringing good information to people and, frankly, we’re able to go to the media planner and buyer in a way that a media sales team is currently unable to do.

‘It’s like a silent sales person. It’s not as effective as having a sales person across the desk but in the current environment, sales people can’t do their job because agency people don’t have the time to meet with them.’

The 15-second ads are static right now but will be full-motion in September and also feature clickable icons to take media buyers interested in an opportunity to the Web site of the media supplier. Messages can be changed throughout the day or tailored to be delivered to a specific company or even to a specific individual within that agency. Information, such as news, is gradually being added to ScreenAd to make as much of an important service for planners and buyers as possible.

Pearman says the rate card hasn’t yet been cast in stone, but one 15-second slot rotated 24 hours a day will run between $2,000 and $3,000 per month.

Marilyn Sherman, EVP of media at Echo Advertising in Toronto, is taking part in the ScreenAd test and says her department is really pleased with the program.

‘We’ve concluded that it definitely has potential. It’s up to the media suppliers to make the best use of it, to make sure they are there with timely ads and appropriate messages.

‘Mediacom has done a really good job with a little clock and the line, ‘Last minute deals? Don’t forget to call us.’ ‘

Sherman adds, ‘If the system has the ability to have different messages on different computers and can pick me personally, oh wow, then that will be great.’

Agencies participating in the ScreenAd program receive remuneration based on the number of computers in the agency using the screen-saver. The fee is based on a percentage of the ad revenue, says Pearman, with large agencies receiving as much as $50,000 annually and smaller firms proportionally less.

ScreenAd has plans to rollout beyond the media and advertising industry. Pearman says the company is currently in talks with colleges and universities as a way for advertisers to reach the elusive 18- to 24-year-old audience, and will later look at other industries such as healthcare.

ScreenAd International has been operating in the U.K. for just over a year. The Canadian operation opened earlier this year and licenses the name and software from the U.K. company.