Daily Beast Inks Monthlong Deal With Luxury Handbag Maker

Tina Brown's Web Operation Partners With Bottega Veneta for Customized Ad Units, Sponsored Content

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Daily Beast, Tina Brown's 6-month-old web venture, has had just a sprinkling of advertising partners thus far. It's run some ad units and sponsored content but has yet to establish any sort of consistent advertising presence. That's set to change with the launch of a monthlong partnership with Bottega Veneta.

The partnership with The Daily Beast is luxury handbag maker Bottega Veneta's first significant investment in online advertising.
The partnership with The Daily Beast is luxury handbag maker Bottega Veneta's first significant investment in online advertising.
General Manager Caroline Marks said The Daily Beast hasn't felt pressured to ramp up its advertising program immediately, because it is in a launch period and IAC, the site's backer, has encouraged its pursuit of more-creative advertising formats. The site garnered about 1.1 million unique visitors last month, up 79% from February, according to Compete.

"We're taking the first six months of our operation to trial more integrated advertising," Ms. Marks said. "We're focused on innovating rather than selling every impression we have."

That creative freedom has led to the creation of what The Daily Beast is calling "breakthrough ads." Code and Theory, an interactive agency with offices in New York and San Francisco, developed the units. The campaign includes expandable rich-media ad units, as well as sponsored content.

The units feature several Bottega Veneta products, with text wrapped around them, eschewing a traditional square or rectangle layout. A wallet carries the words "click to experience." Once readers click through, they are able to interact with different products, opening up screens that show how the products are made and linking to other products.

For Bottega Veneta, the ability to put its craftsmanship on display in an interactive way was intriguing. It's the luxury brand's first significant investment in online advertising.

"Our online presence has been very limited, from an advertising and marketing standpoint. We always look for strategic opportunities when it comes to advertising and wanted to find the right environment before entering this media platform in a significant way," a spokesman said. "The story behind the Bottega Veneta product is compelling. ... It is important for people to understand the craft and make of the intricate, artisanal design, which is the foundation of the brand."

Ms. Marks said "breakthrough ads" will become a standard part of the site's advertising inventory. She declined to comment on the cost of the ads or how they compare to more standard online ad units. She said only that "this is premium advertising for online."

Generally, rich-media ads are more expensive to run than standard ads. But there is a growing trend toward publishers creating bigger custom ad units, in an effort to differentiate themselves from ad networks. Still, according to PointRoll, only about 5% of online ads include some sort of rich media. Cost is a hurdle, as is the fact that not all publishers accept a full range of rich-media ads.

But the shifting media landscape is making innovative online ads more appealing, Ms. Marks said. The site has been in discussions with advertisers that "have never spent a dime online," she added. "They're looking at us as a venue that they feel comfortable in experimenting with. But they have also been very clear, generally, that they know online is significant for them."

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