IQ news: Mercata Showcases Rich-Media Ads on MSN

Mercata, a Seattle-based online group buying service, today launched its spring promotional campaign using rich media ads across the network of Web sites.
The campaign will promote Mercata’s PowerBuy feature, which allows customers to buy a given item or service within a set time frame, usually around 36 hours, with the price dropping as more people decide to buy the item. Like other group buying sites, the prices for products and services on Mercata go down because larger numbers of buyers generate a volume discount with vendor partners.
The new Mercata ads on are active information banners featuring a scrolling horizontal ticker tape listing the costs of various items. The ticker tape is continuously updated in real time as prices drop. The tape also updates the various products and services offered by Mercata, including tools, sports equipment and baby goods.
“Mercata is a perfect example of a company that can take advantage of our enriched media program,” said Gregg Albright, western regional sales manager at Redmond, Wash.-based, a network of Internet services from software behemoth Microsoft Corporation. “As the prices change, the system pulls the most recent prices from the advertiser-controlled database and displays them in the banner in real time.”
The ads will run on the front and Living pages of, on–MSN’s online magazine–and on the WindowsMedia and Entertainment channels of Mercata already runs ads on MSN’s eShop, and this new campaign “will broaden Mercata’s reach across the network,” said Albright. It’s not necessary to have a DSL or other high-speed connection to see the ads, Albright added, though he admitted “the quality will be less” than optimal at low-bandwidth dial-up speeds.
Mercata plans to “work closely with MSN to further leverage the other dynamic features of enriched media,” according to Randy Nargi, Mercata’s vice president of marketing. Some of these features might include cascading menu ads, in which a drop-down menu appears when the cursor runs over the ad, and streaming video ads, according to Nargi.
“We’re excited that MSN has worked with us to create something that goes beyond traditional banner ads,” Nargi said. “We can update the featured product, price, or offer any time we want. And because Mercata’s products and prices are always changing, this is a very interesting solution for us.”