Unicast and Microsoft Win Prestigious IAB Rising Star Award for Sidekick Ad Format

Collaboration with Microsoft Advertising recognized by industry peers for inspiring creativity and user engagement.

Unicast , a leader in online interactive rich media and video advertising solutions, was presented with an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Rising Star Award for its Sidekick rich media ad format, developed in collaboration with Microsoft Advertising. The first annual awards were presented at the IAB Leadership meeting in La Quinta, Calif., on Feb. 28, 2011.

“Recognition from the IAB for Sidekick is a great honor,” said James Dillon, general manager of Unicast. “We share the IAB’s commitment to industry advancement and innovation, and I’m elated to receive the award with our longstanding partner Microsoft Advertising.”

The Sidekick is an expandable format that gives advertisers the flexibility to create on a large palette, but also helps maintain the integrity of the content on the publisher’s page. The Sidekick ad appears on the right side of a Web page and pushes page content/editorial to the left when activated. It also can be launched from virtually any ad format. A typical execution would begin with a banner ad with a call to action to expand Sidekick.

“We’ve been working with Unicast for two years on the Sidekick and are thrilled that the IAB has recognized the potential of this format as an industry standard,” said Jenn Creegan, senior director of brand advertising at Microsoft Advertising. “The Sidekick is just one example of the creative opportunities we’re working on with our partners, like Unicast, to bring to market for advertisers.”

The IAB Rising Stars competition was created by the IAB to encourage the development of new ad formats to enhance the existing list of IAB standard ad units, which are considered by many in the industry to be the foundation of modern digital marketing communications. The selection process was led by a cross-disciplinary group that includes agency creative directors, media executives and ad operations specialists, who judged the ad formats for their potential to drive brand equity at scale. The ad unit submissions were evaluated on criteria including branding, user experience, functionality and page integration. Each year the IAB reviews and revises its “IAB Ad Unit Guidelines”; however, this represents the first time in the organization’s history that it has asked the community to join forces to innovate new ad formats for brand marketers.

“We are excited about the number of high-caliber submissions from leaders across the marketing and advertising industries to this year’s awards,” said Peter Minnium, Consultant and Leader of Rising Stars initiative, IAB. “It further validates the unified focus on fostering creativity and improving the consumers’ experiences with interactive brand advertising.”

View examples of Sidekick on Unicast’s Online Showcase at http://www.unicast.com/Showcase.aspx#/c/richmedia/sidekick.



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