IClips Notches Streaming Ad Deal with Evian

French bottled water company Evian is taking a plunge into streaming video advertising with the help of Alley start-up iClips Inc.

In a deal that marks the “natural spring” water company’s first foray into streaming video advertising, and iClips’ first signing of an advertiser, the two have struck a deal for Evian’s streaming video ads to run on iClips’ free user-generated video platform. The company distributes its service through partners like NBCi and community sites TheGlobe.com and Homestead, as well as through its own site.

Major advertisers have recently begun looking to streaming media, hoping that its audio and visual capabilities might help them create the emotional connection that many feel is missing from Internet advertising. These initial experiments with streaming media are significant for the industry, as it may be a way to capture traditional branding ad dollars, at a time when the online advertising business is in a slump.

During the February campaign, the 10-second Evian videos are included in every streaming message created by users of iClips’ partner sites, the company said. Consumers view the ads when they’re sent e-mail links to the video which runs on the iClips player, or when they visit Web sites on which iClips users have posted videos they created. The iClips video service is free, built on the traditional broadcasting model of providing free content (and content-building tools) in return for viewers’ watching advertising. So far, iClips executives say they aren’t seeing any backlash from users over being required to watch the ads before the video content begins to play.

Financial terms were not released, and iClips execs wouldn’t say how many video views Evian is expected to receive. IClips gets a percentage of ad revenues from its partner sites, as well as direct advertising revenues from its video streaming deals.

Evian’s ad agency, Montreal-based nurun, created the ads, which are in Macromedia Flash format and were created especially for the campaign, rather than being re-purposed from television commercials. The streaming ads are also accompanied by half-banner ads for Evian, which appear on the iClips player throughout the time the video plays. Both the streaming ad and the half-banner are clickable.

As part of the relationship, Evian also said it would also use the iClips tools to send promotional e-mail marketing videos starring British pop star Lisa Shaw.

Michael Diamant, chief executive officer of iClips, said the deal could help advertisers move from the straight banner ad concept to branding efforts with Internet technology. And with the distribution partnerships iClips already has in place, Evian has the potential to deliver its marketing message to millions of Internet users, not to mention the viral effect of users passing video e-mails along to friends.

The deal represents one facet of the online branding and commerce efforts bubbling out of Evian’s home page.

As “traditional methods of Internet advertising continue to decline,” said Sean Perkins, a promotions manager at Evian, “we’re excited about the opportunity to extend our branding efforts using streaming video — one of the most dynamic tools available on the Web.”

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