Trying to reach a younger audience, Cadillac this week will be the first automotive brand to put 'streaming video' in banner ads on the Internet.
The video, for the redesigned Escalade, looks and sounds like a 15-second TV commercial. But the technology is not available on all sites, and it has the potential to turn people off.
'A person could be in the office looking at a Web site, checking sports scores instead of working, not expecting sound or video to come out of the Web site at that time,' said Steve Grimes, creative director of advertising and marketing for RealNetworks Inc. 'We're conscious that we don't put those ads where they're not expected.'
RealNetworks develops technology to view streaming banners.
Cadillac's ads are part of a pre-launch campaign for the redesigned 2002 Escalade sport-utility, which will be in dealerships early next year. The campaign also includes an Escalade giveaway and a charity fund-raiser with the help of talk show host Rosie O'Donnell.
LOWER AGE, HIGHER CLICKS
The new use of banner ads makes sense for Escalade, said Cadillac spokeswoman Leslie Rajewski, because the online reach should help bring down the average age of buyers about 10 years, to 40.
'Also, the click-through rate for regular banners is less than 1 percent, but banners with streaming video get 4 to 8 percent click-through,' said Steve Fromwiller, interactive marketing manager for Cadillac. Click-through is when a user clicks on a banner ad and goes to a new Web site.
The cost to produce streaming video for banners typically runs from $5,000 to $20,000, Grimes said, whereas the cost to produce a regular, animated banner is $1,000 at most and is usually part of the total cost for other creative media.
NOW PLAYING: INFOMERCIALS
Cadillac's six banners will break Wednesday, Nov. 8, on Web sites that include CarandDriver.com,
MotorTrend.com, Discovery.com and BlackPlanet.com.
If a viewer clicks on one of the banners, he or she will be taken to a new site, Escalade2002.com, to view one of six infomercials. The banners and 1-minute, 15-second infomercials will rotate every two weeks through January. Cadillac hopes to collect 300,000 names and e-mail addresses from those who visit the site, Rajewski said.
Escalade sales increased 12.4 percent for the first 10 months of this year, compared with the same period last year.
Cadillac's agency, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, worked with Novo, both in Troy, Mich., to develop the new Web site. D'Arcy created the infomercials and banner clips. Pegasus Internet Inc. in New York developed the streaming technology for Cadillac's banners.