WHERE TO FIND IT: Bloomberg, Boston.com, others.
CRITIQUE: Unobtrusive ads are the ideal way to market. British Airways is using Unicast Superstitials, a pop-up technology that is contradictory in that it is unobtrusive.
Let the content come first and the ads come second to give the user a better overall site experience. This will lead to greater loyalty, more page views and greater -- yes, we're going to say it -- stickiness. All of these build a strong relationship with readers. While we haven't seen any studies to support this, we think this kind of warm and squishy attitude can only reflect well on advertisers who support the content.
For an advertiser, issues can be raised about ads that are so unobtrusive that they load in the background, and therefore don't always load. Advertisers don't pay for those non-impressions, but they're also not getting eyeballs either.
Whether its Unicast banners, Enliven or animated GIFs, the trick is the same: Target banners well for your demographic and then give users a reason to care.
Free airline tickets are a great way to grab attention, so that's just what British Airways has done. The Unicast-served ads use Flash animation, sound and play the word "free" in huge type to draw people in and make the pitch.