White Horse Studios has won a big chunk of MSN's interactive business, which had been handled by Anderson & Lembke of San Francisco.
Redmond, Wash.-based MSN will keep White Horse on a nonexclusive creative retainer through June 30. In return, the Portland interactive agency has dedicated a Microsoft-experienced team of five, to be led by creative director Rick Lindemann.
In the past six months, White Horse has produced some 85 traditional and rich media banners for MSN and its various channels, all on a one-off basis. Assignments have included pages for Microsoft Passport electronic wallet merchants and jump pages designed specifically for users who click on particular banners. The new series of campaigns will include banners for MSN Messenger Service, MSN MoneyCentral, MSN Web Communities, MSN Search and MSN eShop.
"At this point, we really understand their business," said White Horse general manager and CFO Jennifer DeVoe. "This relationship will let us streamline the whole process." Because this effectively puts a White Horse team in-house at MSN, it should be possible to get client approvals earlier in the process, DeVoe said. That will enable the team to go right into production on final creative, skipping spec work.
The ads will run not only on MSN but on other sites, with the ad buy handled by MSN; the media company has not been chosen yet.
Deanna Sanford, lead product manager for MSN, said that in its previous work, White Horse had been "very responsive in helping us deliver on our goals and [employ] new technology."
Sanford would not specify the terms of the new relationship with White Horse, which is estimated to be worth $500,000 for creative services alone.
White Horse helped develop Micro-soft's enRiched Ad Solutions, a selection of ad products designed by the company, with the source code offered free to anyone, anywhere. They'll be using the platform for the rich media portion of the MSN ads, DeVoe said. n