Broadband’s a hit

TV and the Web are hooking up like a couple of co-eds at a campus party and broadband technology is playing the starring role as a bottle of Jägermeister. Meanwhile, with-it marketers who are getting in on the action with creative designed for broadband find it can help them score with those they court.

TV and the Web are hooking up like a couple of co-eds at a campus party and broadband technology is playing the starring role as a bottle of Jägermeister. Meanwhile, with-it marketers who are getting in on the action with creative designed for broadband find it can help them score with those they court.

Web sites are rapidly becoming broadcast stations offering menus of TV news and entertainment video clips online. CHUM plans to offer a more robust online experience for its audiences wherever it can, according to Maria Hale, VP content and business development for CHUM Radio and TV. One such initiative involves MuchMusic, whereby episodes of VJ Search, a CHUM-produced show, will be broadcast online, with some video that didn’t get on air because of time constraints.

‘We’re trying to be as innovative as we can in a landscape that is under-regulated as well as where content holders are very protective of their rights,’ she says.

And in the States, a day after Apple announced its new Video iPod last month, networks started announcing content deals. MTV Networks bought iFilms, a broadband programming distribution company, and ABC put five of its top television series, including Desperate Housewives and Lost, on the iPod menu at a cost of US$1.99 per episode.

It’s not just TV networks getting into the act. Mark Shedletsky, director of marketing at Dose, says the daily mag’s Web site is built for today’s broadband audience. In addition to all the news, photo galleries, and contests on the site, geared to 18-to-34s, a lot of the content is music-related, including a section where over 180 independent bands have provided music, videos and images. Shedletsky says marketers placing full-motion video advertising are getting click-through rates ranging up to 8%, double the industry average of 2% to 4%.

We talked to a couple of the top media shops in Canada to find out how many of their clients are actually using broadband – and just how innovative they’re being.

Cossette, of Montreal, has leveraged broadband with a number of clients, with campaigns that range from simple video creative to more complex efforts, such as a multi-media campaign for General Motors.

Last month GM launched a Quebec-only campaign, with a contest targeting 18- to 34-year-olds. E-mail ads (about a million were sent out) were used to drive potential customers to a Web site (filmschevrolet.ca) to view four short films, each focusing on a different Chevrolet vehicle. The campaign, created by Cossette Communication divisions Ricochet Branded Content, Blitz (DM), Fjord (interactive), and Optimum (PR), will have a 13-week run.

Cam Bedford, VP/GM of Toronto-based Fjord Interactive, says most of the broadband work targets youth.

For instance, for Coca-Cola brands Sprite and Barq’s, Fjord has reached youth through music, gaming, sports, entertainment, and

e-mail sites, such as muchmusic.com and search engines. For Sprite, Miles Thirst (the little black afro’ed doll that stars in Sprite’s advertising), makes appearances in a humorous video rant themed around each site’s content. Bedford says interaction with the ad units has reached as high as 10%.

Meanwhile, this summer Barq’s debuted two retro Pac Man-style games in which animated characters mirror the actors in the brand’s TV advertising. The games – Can Catch and Muu Muu Mash – feature Barqy the dog and have a ‘send to a friend’ function to support viral pass-along.

Michael DiGiovanni, online manager at ZenithOptimedia in Toronto, says aside from extending the life of TV creative or running

made-for-the-Web spots, advertisers can also sponsor the rich content that media suppliers are now offering on their Web sites.

‘It’s quite powerful in terms of guaranteeing eyeballs as opposed to just delivering an impression,’ he says. ‘We could know that 15,000 people streamed the content and that your 30-second spot headed it – and you know those are pure views because no one falls asleep in front of their computer screen. If you’re watching, it’s fairly active – and [Web users] have actually selected that content.’

For Cheerios, a General Mills brand, sponsorship of cholesterol and heart health content on the Sympatico/MSN site helps to reinforce its ‘Take Your Health to Heart’ positioning. The Cheerios branding frames text content for dial-up users while high-speed customers can view heart health information videos on the site with a Cheerios commercial leading into the main video.

There is also a viral aspect to online video content that has clips – quite often commercials – being e-mailed among friends around the world. One ZenithOptimedia client has tapped into this type of viral experience with an unlikely star – the Pillsbury Doughboy. At the doughboy.ca site, visitors can view two ads specially created for the Web by Fjord. The site also features some bloopers from the filming of the spots that can be e-mailed to friends.

Another broadband-enabled innovation has ZenithOptimedia client HP linking up with Canadian Business magazine and canadianbusiness.com to present a live Webinar this month. The broadband broadcast venture combines a live event, print, and online revolving around a breakfast seminar and debate in Toronto that thousands of visitors can view in real time on the Web.

DiGiovanni adds: ‘The beauty of online is that it’s self-directed. I can visit a Web site at five in the morning or eight at night. [The Webinar] creates appointment setting that previously has been owned by other broadcast media. Now you’re saying come to this site at 9:00 a.m. and it starts and you can know that at 9:00 a.m. you’re going to have X number of people [viewing your brand message].’

Kind of like TV.

GISTBOX

* According to Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, of the 63% of Canadian households now on the Internet, 49% have a broadband connection compared to 57% of American Internet households with 34% of them

having broadband penetration.

* Of those Canadians aged 12 to 29, 25% have downloaded a full-length movie or a 30- or 60-minute TV show off the Internet.

Broadband delivers broadly for Coast Capital

At first Coast Capital Savings didn’t realize its new Free Chequing, Free Debit account would be a big draw for 18-to-24s.

But in fact, Brad Scott, product manager, customer acquisitions at the Vancouver-based credit union, says members with this new account were twice as likely to be in that age range than any other, despite the fact that the product launched with advertising targeting its usual 25-54 demo. CCS decided to capitalize on the appeal with broadband advertising directed specifically to youth.

Vancouver’s Rethink, created a mini-campaign of two humorous spots -

‘Do-Rag’ and ‘Fondue Skewers’ – to focus on the Free Debit benefit since that was the aspect of the account that had the highest resonance with the younger segment. In one spot, for example, a young man visits a bank to open a new account and requests one with free debit. He’s told it isn’t possible, but he will get a free leatherette chequebook cover. When he says it isn’t good enough and turns away, the teller calls after him – ‘I have do-rags. They’re the shit!’

The campaign, which ran on media sites such as thebeat.com – the site of the Vancouver R&B/hip station – and the Vancouver page of dose.ca, the online version of Dose magazine, as well as a specially created site called freedebit.ca, began Sept. 6 and ended in mid- October.

Results were significant: CCS had over 8,800 visits to the freedebit.ca site. At the height of the campaign, views of the online membership

application page on Coast Capital’s main corporate site more than doubled their pre-campaign levels and the number of online applications increased by 35%.