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IQ News: Unicast SuperShowdown Showcases Superstitials

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Rich-media firm Unicast today kicks off its Superstitial Showdown located at SUPERshowdown.com. The new site shows superstitial ads designed to complement three television commercials for kforce.com, MCI WorldCom and Universal Pictures that will air during the Super Bowl.
After viewing the superstitials, users can enter to win $10,000 by voting for their favorite. A winner will be announced Jan. 31. Although the site will be dismantled a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, the ads can then be viewed on unicast.com. The companies also will show their ads on other sites yet to be determined.
"The main objective of the [Superstitial Showdown] is to demonstrate the creative flexibility of the Internet for all users and to engage Internet consumers the same way we engage television consumers," said Allie Shaw, vice president of marketing for New York-based Unicast.
Unicast's superstitials are near-full-screen rich-media ads that run between pages. A superstitial ad pre-loads in its entirety in the background during idle periods, unlike streaming-media interstitial and pop-up ad schemes that interrupt Web surfers as they visit sites.
"We realized more and more advertisers and agencies were referring to superstitials as their Internet equivalent to TV commercials," said Shaw. "Because so many people were talking to us about the Super Bowl commercials, we figured it was time for the Internet to have an advertising event of the year of its own similar to television. It's more for fun than anything else."
The site integrates both offline and online advertising, and gives the viewer a chance to become part of the integration. "If you were able to press a button on your remote control during the Super Bowl to vote for the ad you liked best, that would be an amazing thing because everyone gets involved," said Shaw. "The Internet gives us the flexibility to do just that."
Because this is the first time Unicast has run such a promotion, it limited the site to three advertisers. "We wanted to keep the group small to make sure we could deliver all that we promised," said Shaw. Additionally, Unicast wanted the users to view all the ads before casting their votes.
To design the rich media ads, kforce.com worked with Beyond Interactive, New York; MCI WorldCom worked with Grey Direct E. Marketing, New York; and Universal Pictures worked with DDB Digital, Chicago.
Unicast hopes to make the Superstitial Showdown an annual event.