Blog ads

New York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliot gives admiring attention to an ad campaign conducted on blogs: the Budget campaign that came from Henry Copeland at BlogAds, Hugh MacLeod, B.L. Ochman and other smart folks:

Joining the throng are the Budget Rent a Car unit of the Cendant Corporation…. Budget turned to blogs to promote a contest with a scavenger hunt motif, buying advertisements on 177 blogs bearing names like BuzzMachine, Gizmodo, Jossip, Largehearted Boy, Overheard in New York, Stereogum and The Superficial….

“I’ve got to be smart and make my brand feel smart to the consumer,” said Scott Deaver, executive vice president for marketing at the Cendant Car Rental Group in Parsippany, N.J., which oversees Budget and Avis….

What is most valuable about nontraditional media like blogs, Mr. Deaver said, is their ability to “actively engage the consumer” compared with “passive TV spots” and other traditional choices….

The blog campaign for Budget cost about $20,000, Mr. Deaver said. The ads appearing on the 177 blogs asked readers to visit a blog sponsored by Budget ( and enter a treasure hunt being held for four weeks in 16 cities with cash prizes of $160,000. The final contest, in San Diego, ended this week. “Blogs seemed an appropriate fit for Budget’s young, tech-savvy audience,” said Jay Arnold, president and chief executive at the Impax Marketing Group in Philadelphia, which created the blog campaign for Budget….

The blogs were selected, Mr. Arnold said, with the help of a consultant, B. L. Ochman, using criteria like how frequently they are updated and how interesting they are to the so-called technorati. In fact, Mr. Arnold said, the tracking service was used to help pick the blogs….

Mr. Deaver said he was pleased enough with the results of the campaign to have decided “we’ll certainly be back in this space.” (The Budget blog tells readers the next contest will be “sometime in spring 2006.”)

Even so, “the jury’s still out on the metrics,” Mr. Deaver said. “I’d be lying if I said I know what to measure to determine success.”

By a preliminary count, Mr. Deaver said, the blog pages on which the Budget ads appeared had 19.9 million impressions, which generated about 60,000 click-throughs to the Budget blog. That accounted for about half the total traffic to the Budget blog, he added.

“I’m happy about those numbers,” Mr. Deaver said, “but the real determination is, what do we learn? Are we smarter when we do it next time?”

Give that ad man a lollipop!

: Correct my math — please! — but I think this works out to a $1 CPM and a $.33 CPC.

: Full disclosure: Buzzmachine was, indeed, one of the sites (though I almost messed it up). I think I made $100 for it. I’ve since raised my rates.