Vampire banner ads, based on Java technology, will let publishers, catalog companies and other marketers present interactive subscription forms and other direct-response offers to Web users within the banners. This means users will not have to click through to advertisers' Web sites if they want to respond to promotions.
The goal is to reach more of the 98% of Web users who currently do not click on banner ads.
"This is definitely something that marketers, and not just direct marketers, are going to be going to," said Peter Storck, group director of online advertising at research company Jupiter Communications, which projects that the majority of banner ads will become interactive by 2001.
"It brings the point of lead generation right into the banner, and it brings the catalog, even the store, right to the consumer," Mr. Storck said.
ROLLING OUT IN MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
Some of K2's clients, including Toys "R" Us, WavePhore and CommTouch are planning to incorporate the Vampire ads into their current online campaigns.
Software company CommTouch, which provides a community-based e-mail service called ProntoMail, plans to use the Vampire ads to reach users on family-oriented Web sites.
"This will give us the ability to get a much higher click-through rate, and it will let us put a lot of information interactively into the form," said Isabel Maxwell, president of CommTouch.
Other companies are beginning to develop solutions for interactive banner ads. First Virtual Holdings, which provides a secure payment system for electronic commerce, is now developing a system, also using Java, for commerce-enabled banner ads.
COMMERCE ADS NOT FAR OFF
K2 is looking to partner with an electronic commerce software provider to eventually provide transactional capabilities within banner ads, said Joe Apprendi, VP of media and promotion for the agency.
However, added Mr. Apprendi, until commerce issues such as standards and security are resolved, the main thrust of the Vampire ads will be to provide a lead generation vehicle for advertisers.
K2's interactive direct-response package is a turnkey solution that includes