Skywards 'eyeblaster' campaign a huge hit

Emirates Airlines' innovative online campaign, which uses animation and audio, has achieved double digit clickthrough rates on sites around the world.

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By  David Ingham Published  March 3, 2002

The first set of results from Skywards’ recent online advertising campaign is now in and the results are “unbelievable,” according to Andy Patton, product development & marketing manager at Emirates, which manages the frequent flyer programme for Emirates and Sri Lankan.

Any of you that have recently visited itp.net, ameinfo.com or ajeeb.com can’t fail to have noticed the campaign. Instead of putting a few banners on the selected sites, Skywards has used what are known as ‘eyeblasters’, adverts that take over the majority of the screen for a few seconds and then invite the user to click through to join the Skywards programme.

One advert uses the image of a zipper ‘opening up’ the home page to show a person relaxing on a beautiful secluded beach. The advert culminates in the words, “this brief escape from reality is brought to you by Skywards.”

The fact that the adverts render the site inaccessible for a couple of seconds doesn't seem to have bothered surfers. Patton revealed that the click-through rate on adverts placed on Ajeeb.com, a regional news and information portal, was 25%.

Further away from home, the rate at times.co.uk was 31.5% for an advert that made the home page look like it was underwater; and 28% at telegraph.co.uk for the zipper advert described above.

“All of these set against industry norms for online responses are amazingly high and reflect the innovation of media used and the quality of message delivered,” says Patton.

As of last Wednesday (February 27), Skywards had received 1,400 new enrolments online.

The online campaign was developed by DIC-based startup company, North55. Eyeblaster technology overlays an advertising message on top of the Web page being viewed, and offers the ability to include animation and sound effects in the advert. The adverts have run all over the world, on sites such as yahoo.com, economist.com and sports.com.

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