Publishers push to add advertorials to Web mix

By Published on .

`Times,' Kraft forge alliance, others make micro-sites for online sponsors

Advertorials are picking up steam as Web marketing vehicles.

Kraft Foods last week opened an area within The New York Times' site that invites users to take a coffee break.

The link goes to a co-branded content area offering Times book reviews and crossword puzzles.

Web advertorials address several marketer concerns, including the notion that banner ads often don't get clicked. Marketers can have a greater presence by sponsoring content on a media site.

BRAND AS FACILITATOR

"For Maxwell House in particular, the brand is a facilitator rather than a content provider," said Andrea MacDonald, senior partner, non-traditional media, at Ogilvy & Mather, New York. "It is sort of like custom publishing."

Conde Net's Epicurious and Conde Nast Traveler are helping marketers create content areas that Director Sarah Chubb describes as "a creative ad unit . . . that bridges the space between our brand and the advertiser's."

For example, Robert Mondavi Winery bought Epicurious search terms (such as "chicken"), so a banner reading "Robert Mondavi Winery Suggests" leads to pages containing wine tips for cooks seeking chicken recipes. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines appears in May on the Traveler site.

BUILDING MINI-SITES

ICon International, New York, charges $36,000 per quarter to build "micro-sites" for marketers sponsoring its online magazines. Icon publishes Word and forthcoming extreme sports site Charged .

Micro-site marketers working with Charged, which launches in test on April 15, include Kraft's Altoids, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Old Spice and Penguin Books.

Media companies claim if a sponsored area is designed correctly, readers won't be confused by what is advertising and what is editorial, a common concern.

Copyright April 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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