Unicast Unveils Full-Screen Online Ad

NEW YORK Unicast introduced on Monday a full-screen, 15-second online ad that plays when Web surfers are moving between pages. Called a full-screen Superstitial, the 300k online ad format is meant to support the kind of creative ideas advertisers and agencies are accustomed to delivering on TV, the New York-based online ad developer said.

“We really spent a lot of time talking to advertisers and agencies, as well as sites about what it’s going to take to increase online spend,” said Allie Savarino, senior vice president of global marketing at Unicast. From those conversations, Unicast found that advertisers wanted “opportunities that are more comparable to offline.”

The new format allows advertisers to leverage their TV, print, outdoor and point-of-purchase advertising assets, but also add the interactivity of the Web.

A test ad for Unilever’s Snuggle Botanical Bliss, for instance, featured the famous Snuggle spokesbear and instructs users to “click here to experience the bliss.” When users do so, a shower of lilacs buries the bear.

To determine the effectiveness of Snuggle’s three-week test campaign, Unicast tapped New York-based research firm Dynamic Logic to conduct a market research study. Results indicated that brand favorability increased 46 percent and purchase intent went up 32 percent following the effort, which started running at the end of March on MSN.com, MSNBC.com, Emode, About.com and E! Online. Slim-Fast, another Unilever brand, also ran a test campaign, from which results were not yet available.

Unicast will initially offer the format on the top 40 of the 1,500 sites that accept its ad formats. Thus far, advertisers in the entertainment, pharmaceutical and financial industries have expressed interest in the full-page format, said Savarino.

Other ad formats in Unicast’s portfolio include in-between-page (or Superstitial), over-page and in-page ad units.