Aestheticom, a New York-based new-media production company, has been retained by Sony Music's Loud label for interactive marketing duties to promote the next Wu Tang Clan CD release.
As part of the agreement, Aestheticom will create a rich-media e-card for Wu Tang Clan. The e-card features digital video clips of the band that includes e-commerce and other promotional links. Aestheticom has also produced a 15-second teaser spot that's currently airing on national TV.
According to Bill Schacht, founder and CEO of Aestheticom, the HTML-based e-cards are created using a proprietary technology that can detect the operating system and media-player preferences of end-users, making the e-cards viewable by most consumers.
"The thing that's neat about this technology is that for a client [like Wu Tang Clan], it's a guaranteed impression on the Internet," Schacht said, since the e-cards are platform agnostic.
Schacht would not disclose specific financial terms, but he said that production costs were about 50-70 percent less than the costs associated with traditional film or video production. Industry sources said the average cost for commercial production ranges between $300,000-500,000 for a 30-second spot.
In addition to creating rich-media e-cards, Schacht said that his company could also collect tracking and measurement data for an additional fee. Once the e-cards are delivered via e-mail, they can be passed along to others, Schacht added, leading to a viral marketing effect.
"It's part of a paradigm inverse approach in terms of production costs being significantly less [than traditional video production] and exposure being much more constant and quantifiable," Schacht said.
Aestheticom customers include Microsoft, Marvel Entertainment, VH1 and Arista Records. Schacht said that the company was also developing digital video clips for rich-media-enabled cell phones such as the Nokia/Real Mobile video phone, which is currently available in Europe, Africa and Asia, and is expected to be available in the United States next year.