INTERACTIVE: CYBERCRITIQUE: DELL'S FLASH OF AN AD

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WHO: Dell Computer Corp.

WHAT: Interstitial ad

WHERE:www.pcworld.com

WHAT'S THERE: Dell is running an interstitial ad exclusively on PC World Online that lets Web users configure and price computers within the ad. The interstitial, created by San Francisco agency media.com, is designed to give Web users a customized shopping experience and drive more Dell orders online.

The ad itself has some nice interactive features. It lets users specify processor speed, memory and hard drive space for a Dell Dimension XPS computer, and get a price right in the ad. To configure more features and place the order, users click through to the Dell site (www.dell.com).

While the concept-giving users a chance to shop within the ad-is a good one, the execution could be smoother. It's hard to find the ad. For instance, in the buyer's guide section of the PC World site, the ad appears briefly between pages when users click on categories such as notebooks or desktops. But if they don't hit the stop button on their browser, they'll miss it.

Dell has some traditional banner ads running on the PC World site, as well as a link to the Dell site. But if it really wants to find out how users respond to interactive shopping features within the ad, it needs to give them an easier way

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