IAR Bits and Bytes

Screenblast to Promote Surfer Gear

Screenblast, a video-sharing site operated by Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, is launching a campaign for Roxy, a women’s brand of surfwear retailer Quiksilver .

The two-month campaign, which launches June 3, includes online and in-store components. A co-branded Web site at roxy.screenblast.com will encourage visitors to make and share their own surf video, using a tutorial from renowned surf cinematographer Bobby Williams. The site offers video and audio clips for users to insert into their own films.

In addition, the site previews excerpts from the upcoming Roxy “surf, NOW” instructional video. Visitors also will be able to interact with Roxy’s women’s surfing stars, the TeamRiders, who will update their own Screenblast Showcase Page with new surf footage, personalized video and messages.

Additionally, users will be able to enter a sweepstakes with the opportunity to win a Sony digital camera and surf-related gear.

The effort aims to leverage the target demographic’s eagerness for surfing-related content and community features, and especially for creating and sharing their work.

“The Roxy girl has an inherent flair for demonstrating her uniqueness, individuality and creativity,” said Quiksilver Chairman and Chief Executive Robert McKnight. “This relationship is an exciting opportunity for two innovative and strong brands to come together. Screenblast engages our audience in activities that they are already doing and gives them a completely new venue for expression. Allowing them to connect with our athletes, create their own mini-movies, while inspiring them to share their work, is very powerful.”

The site will be promoted print and online advertising, in-store point-of-purchase displays, and specially themed events and activities, including Quiksilver/Roxy Summer Surf Camps.

Unicast: Business More than Doubled in 2001

Rich media ad firm Unicast said its business increased 160 percent since 2000, in stark contrast to much of the online advertising industry.

The New York-based firm said it has more than 1,000 publishing partners for its flagship Superstitial ad format, which now serves more than 400 traditional advertisers. The firm said that central to its success has been a 90 percent renewal rate among clients.

The news comes on the heels of Unicast’s purchase of floundering rival Enliven, and lawsuits against several makers of competing ad formats.

“We have always believed that standardization of online ad offerings is what this industry needs in order to be attractive for traditional advertisers and their agencies, and to keep them coming back for more” said Unicast’s Allie Savarino, who is senior vice president of global marketing and partner services at the firm. “The standardization of the Superstitial format suite has obviously struck a chord with our customers, and in combination with its proven effectiveness in giving advertisers and agencies the flexibility to efficiently meet their integrated marketing goals, has contributed to our growth in an unpleasant year for advertising in general.”

NYTimes.com in Content, Promotional Deal with French Culinary Institute

NYTimes.com, a unit of The New York Times Co.’s New York Times Digital division, will promote a series of videos in partnership with The French Culinary Institute.

The agreement centers around a series of free, online video lessons — called “Cooking with The Times” — hosted by The FCI dean and master chef Jacques Pepin. The 25-part series, available on the NYTimes.com site, includes step-by-step recipes and cooking techniques.

In addition to the videos, NYTimes.com will host links to signing up to receive brochures from The FCI, or to enroll in culinary and business classes at the Institute.

In the future, NYTimes.com said it plans Other Cooking with The Times segments that will launch in the next few months include: “Quenelles” with Andre Soltner, master chef and senior lecturer at The FCI; “Desserts” with Jacques Torres, dean of pastry studies at The FCI; and “Bouillabaisse” with Alain Sailhac, executive vice president and senior dean of studies at The FCI.

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