IQ News: Grey’s Space Probe

By Laura Rich

Grey Advertising is rumbling through cyberspace again, with a new plan to sidestep banners and pay for ad space on its own terms., Grey’s interactive ad buying arm, has been quietly talking to sites about ad models that greatly expand sponsorship space, in some cases taking half or full Web pages. The new campaigns, for most clients, will begin rolling out later this month.

“We want to work with sites to develop the most valuable ad units for our clients,” said David Dowling, president of Payment for these units will be unique to each deal. A client may hope to generate customer leads, for instance, as Sprint will do in a campaign called “Fridays Free,” with pricing based on a cost-per-lead model. Animated banners for free calls on Fridays from Sprint will offer links to more information and to registration forms. The idea is to import sections of an advertiser’s site and essentially syndicate it across content sites.

“Instead of a banner you hope [users] click on, it’s a banner that stays there. You take the site to them,” explained Trevor Kaufman, co-president of Grey-owned KPE, the ad designer.

A Procter & Gamble representative said the packaged goods behemoth would also be making a foray into larger ad units and interstitials. “We’d like to go beyond banners and buttons. One of the ways to do this is to get larger space,” she said.

Not all media sites have been presented with the proposed ad model, though buyers have teased sellers with a “new technique” to come, sources said. “They want the whole page,” said one skeptical media seller familiar with the plan. “They’re not going to get it.”

Some media vendors see the move as behind the times (enhanced banners and interstitials are nothing new). Dowling agreed the shift isn’t new for the Internet, but the pricing models may be. The cost-per-impression formula Grey shunned last year may even make a comeback, although pay will still follow performance. °

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