Chrysler Kicks Tires on Interactive Ads

DaimlerChrysler is the first client to sign up for DirecTV Inc.'s Advertising Development Partner Program.

DirecTV wants to work with clients to create interactive ad strategies for platforms including set-tops and DVR's.

It is currently talking to a handful of top advertisers--no more than four or five says Eric shanks, SVP, advanced services and content, for DirecTV.

The satellite programming provider is looking at major advertisers in categories that lend themselves to interactivity, which Shanks says includes automotive, video games, packaged goods and theatricals.

Finding the best way to avoid the traditional-ad skipping power of interactivity through new approaches, as well as getting more bang out of traditional 30-second spots, has gotten advertisers and programmers searching for new ad models to match that new functionality.

Shanks points to the numerous new technologies the company is preparing to roll out, saying the company wants to give advertisers an early look at them.

For example, DirecTV Active is launching at the end of this month. Viewers will be able to customize weather reports and TV viewing guides, as well as being "launched out" to, say, a long-form Chrysler ad where they could watch "the making of the Chrysler 300," then customize their own version and request a brochure about the car.

DirecTV will then be able to give Chrysler feedback on how many people decided to view the piece or play virtual car designer.

Also part of the partnership is Twentieth Television--co-owned with DirecTV--which oversees DirecTV ad sales. Whatever DirecTV, Chrysler and others come up with, Twentieth will pitch.

The interactive ad campaigns will be tested in focus groups, with Chrysler and DirecTV brainstorming on the data to tailor the campaigns. They will then be rolled out on set-tops and the new DirecTV DVR (which it uses as a subscriber incentive), DirecTV's Media Center, a sort of uber-DVR, plus additional platforms as they develop.

Chrysler's participation begins in September, but DirecTV could get the partnership/test bed going before that if other advertisers want to sign up sooner.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.