New association formed at FAST

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At the Future of Advertising Stakeholders (FAST) summit today, hosted by Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati, a coalition of four industry trade groups was announced to form the FAST Forward Steering Committee. FAST Forward, whose objective is to bring together marketers, ad agencies, online publishers and technology companies to make the Web an effective ad medium, is a joint effort of the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Advertising Research Foundation.

"There has never been an efficient process for us to resolve our differences," said Rich LeFurgy, IAB chairman. Added Mike Donahue, exec VP of the Four A's: "It's critical for us to come together, rather than being representative of just buyers or sellers."

FAST Forward will establish four industry task forces, which are also the topics of breakout sessions at the FAST summit. They include key issues facing the online advertising industry: Measurement, ad models, consumer acceptance and online media buying.

Opening the summit, P&G VP-Advertising Denis Beausejour said: "This feels like it could be a seminal moment in the advancement of online advertising," pointing to the various industries represented at the gathering. Attendees include 40 major advertisers, 40 content providers and publishers, 30 agencies (traditional and interactive), 24 technology companies and 12 associations.

In new research by Ipsos/ASI, the Internet was found to be an effective advertising medium. Based on the study of the online ads tested, 25% resulted in a positive shift in image attributes; new Internet users accept online ads more than those who started using the Web two years ago; and online consumers generally accept larger, more complex online advertising units. In fact, average recall for the more complex ad types ranged from 46% to 63% higher than average recall for standard banner ads.

In a panel discussion, moderator Chuck Martin, chairman of @dtech, said: "This event signals the beginning of real money getting involved [in online advertising]." Panelists talked about the challenges facing the industry and how to make it truly effective.

"We have all been experimenting, but now it's time to look at the results and look at how to move forward," said Tim Smith, founder and CEO of Red Sky Interactive.

"Brand sites can work," Kathy Riordan, director-media planning and new technology at Kraft Foods. Linda McCutcheon, president of Time Inc. New Media, said, marketers "have to have a better understanding of how [the Internet] fits into consumers' lives," including ways to measure dynamics, behavior and usage.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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