|Photo: Hoag Levins|
|Unilever's Snuggle fabric softener recently conducted a test with the new format. Here, the animated ad fills the screen from edge-to-edge. The ad closes itself after 15 seconds unless the user actively engages it.
The New York-based company described the new unit as a "full-screen, 15-second, 300k online ad." Unicast promotional materials suggest the new format will enable advertisers to reach their audiences "with the same impact" as TV.
The ultra-intrusive new format opens when a user is on one page of a Web site and clicks a link to go to another page on the same site. Instead of seeing that new page, the user sees an ad that fills the entire screen.
"We believe that just like in television, the creative you build is what gets shown, the technology should not get in the way," said Allie Savarino, senior vice president for global marketing, Unicast. "The ad has to be fully loaded so there's no latency or delay," she added.
Unicast said it hopes to persuade publishers such as AOL Time Warner properties and CBS MarketWatch to offer the ad format to their advertising customers.
AOL Time Warner moved last year to ban pop-up ads on its America Online service after overwhelmingly negative member response to them.
When asked about the new Unicast full-screen format, Chuck Gafvert, AOL's vice president of ad technologies and sales engineering, e-mailed back that "we are looking at a variety of ad formats -- including Unicast -- that advance advertiser interests without in any way negatively affecting the member experience. We look forward to expanding our advertising offerings."
Scot McLernon, CBS MarketWatch.com executive vice president of sales and marketing, said: "We're still in discussions with Unicast about the full-page on how we want to best utilize it. We might use it as you enter into channel headers, but I don't want to interrupt the reading of a story."