Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

OMG + HP + SATC = Yahoo’s Big New Ad

How does dowdy Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) attract the short-attention-span gossip-seekers who visit Yahoo’s OMG site? With a giant ad that links Sex and the City and some shiny laptops, of course.

HP has taken over the gossip site’s home page for the day with an ad that manages to mash up the upcoming SATC film with some sort-of blingy laptops.

Home page takeovers are standard practice for the Web, but Yahoo is particularly proud of this one, because it’s the first time it’s rolled out this particular ad unit, which it built in-house.

Visitors to the site will notice some messaging for HP and SATC (oh – and Windows 7, too) at the top of the screen and in one of the 15 headline boxes that dominate the page, but they won’t see the full-page ad unless they click through.

Yahoo (YHOO) won’t say what it’s charging for its prime real estate, which attracts around 20 million uniques a month. But a good bet would be something in the $80,000 range for the day.

Here’s what OMG visitors will see when the page loads the first time:

And what they’ll see with the ad turned on:

The execution is a little confusing: If you click on most parts of the square, the ad will open up a new window in your browser that takes you to this HP-hosted page. If you want to stay on OMG and see the ad, you’d have to make sure you clicked on the “engage” button.

I’m also not sure how many OMG readers will be enticed to click on any part of the square, period. But Yahoo says that future iterations of the unit will offer advertisers the option to take over the screen for a few seconds without any prompting from users, like some other ads already do.

And repetition is the real point of this exercise: Yahoo is trying to create ad units that seem novel and fresh for visitors (and ad buyers), but are designed to be stamped out over and over again. Interesting to see if this one works.