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Yahoo Uses Artists to Make Ad Pitch

Internet: Portal, partner debut advertisements to promote idea that the Web can deliver more sophisticated messages.

June 26, 2001|GREG JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Giant Web portal Yahoo Inc. and an advertising partner unveiled a series of online ads Monday by Michael Graves, Philippe Starck and other leading artists that are designed to underscore the Internet's ability to deliver more than oft-ignored banner ads.

Yahoo is betting that the series of ads (http://promo.yahoo.com/designerads) will help convince advertisers and ad agencies that the Internet can carry increasingly sophisticated marketing messages.

"The technology has evolved online to the point that we can compete with TV in terms of telling a story online," said Yahoo Marketing Director Luanne Calvert. "These are ads that connect with consumers, and they're done by world-class designers using technology now available."

Graves' advertisement incorporates a painting he did during the design of a hotel in Egypt. Starck's ad shows a fast-moving string of his interior design elements. Fashion designer Paul Frank and artist Romero Britto were among six designers who completed advertisements. Calvert would not disclose how much was spent on the ad campaign.

Unlike banner ads, which rarely include more than a few images and some advertising copy, the spots unveiled Monday incorporate a swirl of activity. Graves' ad, for example, provides an animated look at a painting he completed; artist Britto's advertisement uses a fast-moving, colorful animation that gives viewers a preview of a new piece of art. The ads appear in a pop-up box that's larger than a typical banner ad.

The series of ads completed for ONE Media, a design company that publishes a bimonthly magazine and operates a design-oriented Web site, is part of a "bigger is better" push by online companies that depend heavily upon advertising to generate revenue.

"The idea is that advertising is only as good as its execution," said ONE Media founder Dana Lyon. "What we're trying to do is encourage people to use the latest tools and improved bandwidth now available."

In a related development, research unveiled Monday by Jupiter Media Metrix's AdRelevance unit suggests that advertisers are starting to embrace a new generation of ads that are larger than traditional banner ads. So-called skyscraper ads were introduced in February by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a New York trade group.

In February, only 4% of Web sites tracked by AdRelevance were carrying oversize ads. Skyscraper ads were found on 21% of AdRelevance's monitored sites in May. The big advertisements were shown about 280 million times, up from 30 million in February.

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Bigger Ads

"Skyscraper" ads, which are larger than traditional banner ads, are growing in popularity online, according to AdRelevance, a unit of Jupiter Media Metrix. The top sites offering skyscraper ads in May were:

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Frequency ads Rank/company Number of ads were shown 1. Yahoo 120 236.5 million 2. About.com 86 107.9 million 3. Switchboard 6 18.0 million 4. Gamesville 30 15.5 million 5. CBS MarketWatch 84 14.6 million 6. McAfee.com 29 12.9 million 7. Motley Fool 40 12.5 million 8. MetaCrawler.com 5 11.6 million 9. IWon 4 11.0 million 10. Direct Hit 5 10.9 million

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Source: AdRelevance

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