Mazda Backs Interactive Video Push

For most people, the most interactive part of online video is when you turn it on or off, but a firm called Innovid sees “interactive video” as the next big thing in advertising.

The firm, which worked an online campaign for the movie Watchmen, has lined up another client—Mazda—for a branding campaign in Canada.

The effort, running on Sympatico/MSN (Canada’s version of MSN), promotes Orange Lounge, an online showcase for music. Using Innovid’s technology, Web surfers can click on an Orange logo to get Pop Up Video-style trivia on the bands. (Ex: “Blake’s hometown is Ludington, Mich.,” reads one referring to Metro Station bass player Blake Healy.) Mazda’s role in the effort is as a sponsor and it doesn’t directly use Innovid’s technology.

Innovid characterizes the clickable video as a form of interactive product placement, though the goal is often to give click-happy Web surfers incentive to stick through a whole video. Zvika Netter, CEO of Innovid, said the click-through rate for Innovid’s video placements are in the range of 20-30 percent versus 1-8 percent for standard online ads. “It creates a lean-forward, hold-your-mouse-in-your-hand experience,” Netter said, adding that “the videoframe is the new Web page.”

The company, which is based in Tel Aviv and New York, first tested its technology with an online effort for Warner Bros.’ Watchmen which placed ads for the movie in posters hung in the background of videos from Web video producer For Your Imagination, which creates Kyle Piccolo-Comic Shop Therapist and Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary. A rep for Innovid said the company could also retrofit dynamic placements onto old Web videos.

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