Vibrant Media Honors Ask, Microsoft, New Line and Unilever at
First Annual Awards Competition for Contextual Advertising

NEW YORK, June 12, 2008, (BUSINESS WIRE) — Vibrant Media, the world leading video and contextual advertising network, presented the Vibrant Awards for creative and strategic use of in-text and contextual video advertising tonight in Manhattan. Ask.com took the Gold for its skillful use of contextual advertising incorporating a dynamic API feed. New Line Cinema won the Silver for its cleverly enigmatic video campaign promoting the film "23". Microsoft won the User Engagement Award for the effectiveness of its LiveSearch campaign and Unilever won the Judges Choice Award for its dueling "blonde vs. brunette" campaign to promote Sunsilk's Color Boost. The European Vibrant Awards were held last week in London where Yahoo!, Fiat and Chrysler won the night.

According to Doug Stevenson, Co-founder and CEO of Vibrant Media, "In the eight years since Vibrant was founded, in-text advertising has come of age, and Vibrant has grown exponentially to meet the demand with offices in eight cities in the U.S. and Europe, an audience of 120 million uniques, and a network of over 3,500 publishers. The Vibrant Awards are intended to recognize the growing influence of in-text advertising in the online advertising landscape."

A distinguished panel of industry judges evaluated the nominated campaigns for creativity, word selection and effectiveness in communicating the brand message and meeting campaign objectives. The judges were:

  • David Cohen, EVP, US Director of Digital Communications, Universal McCann Interactive
  • Sarah Fay, CEO, Aegis, North America
  • Mike Hurt, Director of Ad Planning, Microsoft & Co-Chair, IAB Digital Video Committee
  • Steve Katelman, Director Strategic Partnerships, OMD
  • Brian Morrissey, Digital Editor, Adweek
  • Jack Myers, President, Myers Publishing, LLC

Thirty-five other campaigns were evaluated by the judges including Ford Sync, Theraflu, Kraft Oreo and Yellowpages.com. After reviewing the nominations, UMI's David Cohen noted, "There were some very clever uses of the medium... I was impressed by the quality of the submissions." Sarah Fay, CEO of Aegis North America, commented that the entries highlighted the use of search as a way to customize a video and serve up a message that's specific to the environment.

According to Sean Finnegan, Vibrant's CMO, "Contextual advertising offers the best of all worlds - user control, relevancy, branding, video, and pricing accountability. The campaigns honored tonight reflect some of the smartest, most impactful and creative executions we've seen, and it is our hope that the Vibrant Awards here and in the UK will continue to inspire excellence in years to come." The recipients of the 2008 Vibrant Awards follow:

Gold Award
The campaign that won the Gold by epitomizing the skillful use of in-text, fully leveraging the format strategically and creatively to engage the consumer and deliver results, is Ask.com. By tapping consumers' insatiable interest in celebrity, Ask.com intercepted users by highlighting celebrity-related words — like Angelina Jolie, Indiana Jones, NFL, Jay Z, Jennifer Aniston, Mandy Moore, and more - within related content, and provided a dynamic API feed with additional search information. This campaign, which was a unanimous hit among the judges, captured outstanding click through rates across the board.

Silver Award
The campaign that took full advantage of the in-text medium by combining the compelling use of words and video to win the 2008 Silver Vibrant Award was New Line Cinema for the film "23." Using words such as 'DNA' and 'Titanic' to provoke interest in the film, New Line Cinema developed a custom unit that teased viewers with a series of enigmas related to the number 23.

User Engagement Award
Finally, Vibrant's first User Engagement Award was presented to the campaign that was most effective according to Vibrant's own measurement tools. Microsoft wanted to gain market share and establish Live.com as the premier online search engine. Through a custom in-text unit, Microsoft was able to bring Live.com search results into the content and engage users by offering relevant, real time information related to the highlighted word. The Live.com initiative achieved exceptional click-through and user interaction rates. The campaign offered Vibrant's user base a powerful resource, placing convenient search functionality within articles.

Judges Choice Award
This award recognizes a campaign that the judges felt deserved special recognition for its clever approach. The winner of the 2008 Vibrant Judges' Choice Award is Unilever for Sunsilk's Color Boost. Using words and phrases including "confident women," "color boost," "healthy shine," "shampoo," and "hair color," Unilever aimed to increase awareness of Sunsilk's Color Boost. By highlighting the words "blondes" and "brunettes," and creating a virtual duel between them, Unilever delivered sassy video creative that perfectly illustrated the notorious battle between blondes and brunettes.

About Vibrant Media
Headquartered in New York, Vibrant Media is a world leading video and contextual advertising network, giving marketers the opportunity to deliver highly targeted, user-initiated advertisements within the text of premium Web content. The company works closely with advertisers, agencies and Web publishers to plan, buy, deliver and optimize Vibrant In-Text Advertising campaigns across thousands of websites. Vibrant Video provides measurable brand engagement through the largest pay per click video advertising network. Reaching more than 120 million unique users per month, Vibrant Media manages more than five billion words per month for top advertisers such as Sony, Intel, New Line Cinema, Microsoft and Toyota. The company was founded in 2000 and has offices in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, London, Paris and Hamburg, with more than 200 employees. The Company's rapid growth has been recognized by both the Inc. 500 and Deloitte Fast 50 list for two consecutive years. For more information, visit www.vibrantmedia.com.