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Chris Schults, Internet Manager, The Advertising Council

moderator: Welcome to aef.com's online discussion, Public Service Advertising Online. Our discussion leader today is Chris Schults, Internet Manager, The Advertising Council.

cschults: Hello and welcome.

moderator: Public Service Advertising online -- what does that mean?

cschults: Public Service Advertising online, in my view, represents the communication of public issues, such as crime, the environment, and education, through online advertising. Today, in the case of the Ad Council, public service advertising online mainly consists of banner ads.

moderator: Do you have a question for Chris?

luvads: Hi, who is your target group when advertising online?

cschults: First, welcome luvads.

cschults: The Ad Council works on approximately 30 to 40 campaigns at one time. For each campaign, the target audience will be unique to that campaign.

luvads: Have you found that there is a specific audience that is more affected by online advertising, i.e. teenagers?

cschults: However, in general, our target audiences can be categorized as: adults, parents, teens, kids, care givers, and the US population in general.

cschults: I am not aware of any particular audience that is more affected. But considering the use of the Internet by teenagers, speaking to them in one of their main mediums could be effective.

luvads: Is the Ad Council able to track the effectiveness of such online campaigns?

cschults: With most online advertisers, the ability to track effectiveness is evolving. Definitions of effectiveness and developing methods to measure success are still be created... At this time, the Ad Council can measure the number of times our ads are delivered, how many times they are clicked on (which drives traffic to the organizations' sites) and in some cases, using third party research, we can determine the reach of our online advertising. However, since our objectives are usually to make positive social change, it is hard to determine effectiveness in any medium.

luvads: Are you able to 'carry over'/translate some of your tv campaigns to the online medium?

cschults: Good question.

luvads: why thank you

cschults: There are a number of ways to do this which we are currently exploring. One is to post our television PSAs on our site http://www.adcouncil.org.

cschults: Here, online users can visit our site and watch them at their leisure. Second, we approach various sites and encourage them to post our PSAs as well. We currently have a relationship with FasTV.com that created a special Ad Council section. Third, our TV PSAs can also be rotated in environments which is streaming video, such as the programs available through the RealPlayer. The last example of translating TV to the Web is to incorporate it into online creative. For example, there is one 468x60 banner that features a :15 TV PSA right in the banner.

luvads: that's cool

cschults: One point I would like to make regards talent clearance. The Ad Council and the volunteer ad agency working on the campaign, must include the Internet in talent negotiations. Otherwise, we don't use them online.

cschults: luvads, do you have another question?

luvads: Could you then assume that those campaigns without 'real actors' i.e. Smokey Bear, are easier to get online since you wouldn't have those talent conflicts?

cschults> I am not familiar enough with talent clearance to answer that question. But I am learning!

luvads: fair enough. thanks.

cschults: Another consideration to make when discussing video online is the user's ability to view video. Considering bandwidth and technology constraints, it is sometimes difficult to watch video. That is why the Ad Council streams most of its audio and video online.

cschults: Hi nazz00. What is your question?

nazz00: what will online PSA's evolve to? will they eventually incorporate e-mail & cooperative ads?

cschults: Online PSAs, along with all advertising, will continue to evolve. Although the majority of PSAs are probably banners right now, there are a number of methods being used to get the word out. Email is certainly going to become even more widely used once non-profits become savvy (for those who are not already). However, I wonder if an email would be considered a PSA.

nazz00: yeah??

cschults: What do you mean by co-op ads? Do you mean ads co-branded with a for-profit company?

nazz00: yeah!!

cschults: That is definitely a possibility, and may be happening already. The Ad Council has already seen TV ads with "brought to you by..."...TV PSAs that is.

nazzoo: thanks.

luvads: Would you be concerned about sending spam emails? That could hurt your image somewhat if they become obtrusive.

cschults: I would not advise sending unsolicited email or spam. Opt-in email with an opt-out option I believe is the recommended choice in the industry right now.

luvads: Sorry, I'm not familiar with that.

cschults: And you are correct about spam potentially hurting rather than helping you achieve your goals. I describe "opt-in email" to be when you ask the permission of each user to send him or her an email. In some cases, it has to be on a specific topic. Then, the a subscriber should have the ability to "opt-out" or unsubscribe at any time.

luvads: Oh, I would have to assume that the number of users who want that would be pretty low, therefore not very effective.

cschults: The Internet is clearly redefining the consumer's role in the entire marketing process. You would be surprised to learn how many people choose to accept emails. If the topic is relevant to your job, favorite hobby, music genre, or social issue, you will probably try it out. These are issues that organizations will need to address when conducting email marketing.

luvads: Yes, as you said, this is all still relatively new and evolving.

cschults: Right.

cschults: If you don't have another question, I would like to expand on my answer to nazz00.

luvads: Thanks, I believe I'm done.

cschults: Great questions by the way.

cschults: Regarding online PSAs evolving... What is happening now in the industry is the evolution of ad sizes and ad formats. Hopefully, PSAs will evolve as well. Although still the most popular format and size, the 468x60 pixel GIF banner sometimes gets the stigma that it is not an effective unit. Television and radio PSAs are great because they are stimulating due to video and sound. They speak to our emotions. However, a GIF banner needs to work really hard to accomplish that.

cschults: A number of formats exist that allow you to incorporate sound, video and sophisticated animation within the banner and other online ad units. Additionally, advertisers are now able to add interactivity which enables users to play games or request information - right from the ad! This poses a challenge for non-profit advertisers producing online PSAs. A lot of it is technology based and usually involves higher production costs.

Another way PSAs are evolving is the convergence of the Internet and television. Interactive television is another area the Ad Council is exploring. For example, people equipped with a set-top bix, such as WebTV, will be able to interact with programming and advertising. From a PSA, you could interact with the ad and request a brochure, get the phone number for the local branch of an organization.

Another opportunity for non-profits is to supply cable and broadcast networks with valuable information that can enhance programming. I believe HBO is airing a documentary on cancer which will be interactive if you want to get more information.

cschults: Are there any other questions?

nazz00: thanks for your reply...your answer is certainly very explanatory --appreciate it.

cschults: You’re welcome.

nazz00: that's all for me!!

cschults: Thanks for your questions.

moderator: Well, we'll take any last questions for Chris...

moderator: We're about out of time. Thanks so much for all the information, Chris.

cschults: It was fun.

cschults: Thank you nazz00 and luvads.

moderator: Please join us on May 16 at 5:00 p.m. for our next online discussion. The topic: Global Advertising, hosted by Marcio Moreira.