REDMOND, Wash. — May 4, 2009 — Microsoft Advertising and Brand Affinity Technologies Inc. (BAT), the company bringing athlete and celebrity endorsements to the Web, have teamed up to provide U.S. advertisers of all sizes and budgets with the opportunity to increase the brand performance and effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns through targeted digital advertising endorsements.
Because of Microsoft Advertising’s comprehensive advertiser and publisher portfolio, BAT has chosen Microsoft Advertising to be its first preferred online publisher portal. Using BAT’s Platform, advertisers and agencies can easily secure talent and launch national and locally targeted campaigns in a matter of days.
BAT’s growing platform currently includes more than 2,000 athletes and celebrities, with athletes representing every major professional sport in the U.S. Advertisers use BAT Affinity Ratings, which are based on a detailed analysis of performance and positive and negative consumer associations, to help determine the best celebrity talent endorsement for their campaigns. BAT’s Platform then guides advertisers through every step of the automated agreement and approval process. Using BAT’s fully rights-managed, high-quality video and still creative assets, advertisers and agencies can easily and efficiently build online brand and advertising campaigns.
“Historically, endorsements were only obtainable for the largest advertisers and a handful of celebrities and athletes,” said Ryan Steelberg, president and CEO of Brand Affinity Technologies. “Now, it is easy for national and local advertisers and talent alike to benefit from the recognition and passion that consumers have for their favorite athletes and stars. For example, advertisers can quickly capitalize on the proven power of endorsement marketing by targeting locally and using celebrity association both pre- and post-click. These are opportunities that can only be achieved in scale online, and the relationship with Microsoft Advertising and its valued network of partners is one of the ways we will open this new market of online endorsement advertising to advertisers of all sizes.”
According to NPD Group Research, less than 1 percent of images that consumers see daily (30 of 3,156) reach conscious behavior. Brands must do more to stand out, especially online where the competition for consumer attention is at its highest. In early beta tests, BAT-enabled campaigns delivered an average of 13.5 times advertisers’ typical conversion rates and, on average, 3.5 times advertisers’ typical click-through rates. In addition, these campaigns drove every tested brand metric including awareness, association, favorability and intent.
“It’s a perfect match — advertisers can quickly create star-studded campaigns that help improve online ad performance, while Microsoft helps connect them with audiences who seek new ways to associate with their favorite celebrities,” said Keith Lorizio, vice president of U.S. advertising sales for Microsoft Advertising. “We’re thrilled to be the first portal to team with BAT to let advertisers easily access the power of a celebrity or athlete’s brand.”
“I’ve always been blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of sports fans,” said Drew Brees, 2008 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Player of the Year and BAT Platform member. “As people spend more time online, I see BAT as an innovative way — not just for me but for a host of hardworking athletes — to benefit from endorsement marketing. We deliver on the field, and we can deliver for advertisers.”
More information about the pilot and how to join is available at http://ops.brandaffinity.net/forms/MSA-BAT-Request.html.
About Microsoft Advertising
Microsoft Advertising provides advertisers and publishers with media, tools and services to help drive deep and profitable engagement with their audiences. This includes a media network that reaches hundreds of millions of consumers around the world; global technology platforms and tools that enable easy planning and management of campaigns and content; and services that help untangle the complexities of digital media to get more value from marketing and content investments. Microsoft Advertising makes buying and selling media simple, smart and cost-effective across media and devices in the Microsoft network of properties and beyond. More information is available at http://advertising.microsoft.com.
About Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT)
Founded in 2007, BAT (http://brandaffinity.net) is reinventing the business of endorsement marketing for the online world by making it easy and affordable for advertisers of all sizes to launch ad campaigns featuring athletes and celebrities. Advertisers use BAT’s Endorsement Platform to identify, license, and activate the most effective talent for their campaigns, based on brand and targeting considerations. Currently, BAT’s Platform features more than 2,000 top athletes and celebrities in markets nationwide, and is used by leading advertisers to build brand value and boost campaign performance. BAT’s celebrity roster includes marquee active and retired players in nearly every sport, including Drew Brees (NFL), Josh Hamilton (MLB), Rajon Rondo (NBA), Brooks Robinson (MLB – Hall of Fame), Emmitt Smith (NFL – retired), and Lennox Lewis (Boxing).
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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