RealTime IT News

IAR Bits and Bytes

Dems, GOP Come Together on Rich Media

Calls from President Bush and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) for bi-partisan action were answered sooner than many probably expected, with both parties tapping rich media e-mail as a way to get their messages out to supporters after Tuesday's State of the Union address.

Both parties tapped e-mail marketer MindArrow for the task of delivering Webcasts of the State of the Union address's Democratic Response and a message from the chairman of the Republican National Congress.

Together, the two mailings went out to more than 100,000 recipients. Democrats used both a house list and a rented list, while the GOP's slightly larger mailing used addresses from its own house file.

"The idea basically was to use the e-mail as a means by which to drive users back to the Web site, to view the Webcast," said MindArrow spokesman Jay Stevens.

MindArrow and RadicalMail, which merged last year, have done previous political work in the past, including efforts for the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Steve Forbes. What makes the newest effort special, however, is its release in conjunction with a nationally televised event.

"It's combining online media with traditional," Stevens said. "They're using e-mail as the means by which to drive that viewership."

Stevens said the company was still in the process of tracking the campaigns' results, and so couldn't provide metrics on effectiveness. But he said the clients were pleased with the overall cost-effectiveness of the effort.

"On a campaign, you spend so much time just getting cash, just to burn so much on a television spot," he said. "What's great about e-mail, specifically rich media e-mail, for the political world, it really offers an opportunity to reach constituents directly, with the message you want to deliver, for a hell of a lot less."

Service Lets Users Pick Ads Software maker AWS Convergence Technologies said it plans to unveil a feature in its ad-supported WeatherBug application that allows users to pick the advertisements they want to see -- for a day.

The Gaithersburg, Md.-based software company, the chief product of which streams live local weather information and forecasts, said it had gotten nearly 50 advertisers to agree to participate in the program. As a result, WeatherBug users now can select their sponsors of choice for the program during the download process. After the user chooses the advertiser, they see ads for it during download, and in a confirmation e-mail.

More importantly, those ads will appear during the first 24 hours of usage, in a format dubbed "BrandWrap" that includes banners and wallpaper.

Whether this brief period of exposure will result in effective marketing communication remains in doubt -- especially considering that consumers need not even open the application, either, since it displays the temperature in users' System Tray. Spokespeople, for their part, maintain that the product will prove valuable. "When people have the power to choose the advertising they see, sponsors benefit because they pay only when users select to view their ad and they get more qualified leads," said AWS vice president for business development Andy Jedynak. "In addition, our research shows that users prefer to have control over what ads they see."

Delta, FTD.com Team Up on Incentive Program

Atlanta-based air carrier Delta Air Lines has inked a new, multi-year partnership with FTD.com that would offer Delta incentives to the online florist's customers.

Specifically, members of Delta's SkyMiles program will earn 10 miles for every dollar spent at FTD.com. The program's Silver, Gold and Platinum Medallion members will earn an additional 100 miles for each purchase.

By increasing the ways that members can gain miles, Delta stands to benefit by increasing the attractiveness of its SkyMiles program.

"Delta's retail partnerships are a great way for SkyMiles members to earn miles while buying quality products and services," said Christine Pierce, Delta's director of relationship and interactive marketing.

Meanwhile, FTD.com gains marketing opportunities and could see potential upside from Delta customers looking to stock up on miles.

"With this partnership, we now can offer FTD.COM's extensive assortment of flowers and gifts and our same-day floral delivery capability to Delta's more than 30 million SkyMiles members," said Bill Van Cleave, vice president of marketing for FTD.COM.