Cybercritique: Banner pitch fails to connect with the music

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CRITIQUE: Pet peeves: Banners that promote a specific feature on a site, such as this streaming audio file from the band Metallica, that instead take users who click through to a home page.

In this case, is a general site of streamed audio and video content. The banner containing the pitch for Metallica is a targeted ad, running in targeted locations such as that takes you to a page with no mention of Metallica; the page does, however, have a rather prominent link to "Schwarzkopf on prostate cancer."

What we find particularly interesting about this banner is the promotion of Metallica's music in an Internet forum. Metallica is one of a handful of musical groups in a very public battle with Napster, a company that allows users to trade music files online. Napster, which does not police the service for copyright violations, has been accused of promoting music piracy.

By offering legal downloads of some of its music for the sake of promotion through companies such as StreamSearch, Metallica demonstrates a belief in the free giveaway as a means of driving sales.

Metallica's issue is one of control of their own product and its promotion, which is increasingly difficult to maintain on the Internet.

This banner is related to a promotion with StreamSearch and Hollywood Records for the "Mission Impossible 2" movie soundtrack.

Whether or not Metallica signed off on this particular execution of this promotion is somewhat irrelevant. The statement seems to be: We believe in free distribution as promotion, but only if we control it all. Which begs the question: How do you find the line between promotion and lost sales?

Sticking with a music example, people hear songs on the radio for free, but they still buy CDs. As the Internet makes distribution of intellectual property fast and easy, these issues will keep cropping up along with the question: Is any promotion good promotion?

WHO CREATED IT: Zimmerman & Associates, St. Louis.

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