Despite the problems surrounding display adsspending dropped 6.4 percent last year, will stall this year, and the low CPMs can't keep publishers up and runningthe industry doesn't really have a scalable alternative other than search. So publishers continue to try to find a magic bullet for display. The latest example: letting advertisers plug celebrity sponsors into their banner ads on the cheap.
The company behind the new units is Brand Affinity Technologies; according to Adweek, it has a roster of more than 1,400 professional athletes, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, that have signed on for endorsements. Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester and NBA Hall of Famer Walt Frazier appear in ads for legal document services LegalZoom, for example. Advertisers can pick their celeb and drop a photo or video of them into a banner ad, though the athletes have veto rights over all offers or creative. The company tracks online buzz about the athletes so that advertisers know where to target ads for the most impact. for marketers, it lowers the cost barrier for celebrity endorsements: CPMs for these ads run in the $1 to $2.50 range, meaning a 10-million impression campaign could cost $25,000 tops.
By Tameka Kee