Lions Gate Films Taps Out-of-Banner Media for “O” Promotion

Lions Gate Films is using rich media and out-of-banner ads in its promotion for the film “O,” in conjunction with online ad network L90.

Los Angeles-based L90 said its Marketing and Creative Services group developed a customized campaign for Lions Gate that uses traditional ad units — skyscrapers and banners. But the campaign, which is promoting both the film and a vacation sweepstakes, also relies heavily on newer formats of online advertising.

Indeed, much of the promotion for the film — a retelling of Shakespeare’s “Othello” — will utilize a host of L90’s rich media and out-of-banner ad products.

One of those new formats, the “WildBill,” functions like so-called “wild postings” — guerilla marketing posters used to promote new film and album releases in large cities, often seen affixed to the sides of sidewalk construction barriers.

L90’s WildBill product (which will use the same creatives as outdoor executions) flashes three rectangle-shaped ads on a Web page, though the ads vanish after a couple seconds and — seemingly contrary to standard online advertising operating procedure — aren’t clickable.

Instead, like their real-world counterparts, WildBills are meant to build “buzz” rather than direct sales. (Just to be on the safe side, and to give audiences an opportunity to get more information on the film, the WildBills will usually be running on the same site as a standard banner.)

The image used for the WildBill ad is the same creative used in the “O” offline movie posters and one-sheets that are used for outdoor advertising, providing Lions Gate Films with a natural adaptation of its offline campaign to online.

In addition to the WildBill execution, the campaign will also use New York-based Eyeblaster’s “out-of-banner” ad product — which temporarily displays a 10-second rich media ad on top of content in the middle of a Web page. Birds fly out of the ad and around the screen. After the ad has run, it shrinks to a banner on the side of the screen.

Furthermore, L90 created a rich media pop-up — called a “PowerAd” — that includes a Flash animation that directs viewers to sweepstakes information at the film’s Web site.

The new campaign comes as an increasing number of advertisers — entertainment companies, especially — are stepping up their use of rich media in online advertising. That’s typically good news for the ad industry, which views rich media ad creative as more effective for advertisers — and it can charge higher rates for this increased effectiveness.

“More and more companies are beginning to unleash and realize the true power of the Internet as a branding, customer acquisition and sales vehicle,” said L90 president and chief executive John Bohan. “The smart marketers are figuring out how to mix the Internet in with their traditional media mix. Sweepstakes have been a favorite way for advertisers to drive awareness, while also capturing valuable customer information. Because the Internet is interactive by nature, it makes campaigns with sweepstakes that much more powerful.

Lions Gate, meanwhile, said its main draw to rich media was its ability to deliver on both branding and direct response objectives.

“The beauty of the Internet is its ability to brand while also allowing users to interact with the product,” said Tom DeLuca, the studio’s vice president of new media. “L90’s marketing expertise allows us to generate a buzz similar to offline media, yet the innovation of the technology also allows users to interact through the sweepstakes component.”

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