by: Ilya Vedrashko
Some time ago, I posted a general overview of ad formats in Joost. This was before the company announced the product's formal launch last Tuesday carrying some 30 advertisers who'd signed up for the three-months trial. I thought I'd pop in and see who's doing what.
The advertisers are Coca-Cola, HP, Intel, Nike, Electronic Arts; Esurance; Garnier Fructis; Kraft; Lionsgate; Microsoft Corp.; Motorola Inc.; Nestlé Purina PetCare; Procter & Gamble; Procter & Gamble (Hugo Boss Fragrances); Sony Electronics, Inc.; Taco Bell Corp.; United Airlines; US Army; Visa; and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Orbit, Extra, and Eclipse), General Motors Europe with Opel and Vauxhall brands; IBM; L'Oréal Paris; Nokia Nseries; Unilever's Magnum Ice Creams; Virgin Money; Vodafone; and Warner Bros.
You can type in their names in Joost's search field and get a list of the respective ad content. Alternatively, you can also use this (new?) content search feature on the Joost site. Not all of the advertisers have uploaded their stuff onto Joost; either that, or they are tricky to find. Searching for Coke and its derivatives returned only a comedy clip "Mentos and Champagne". If you don't have Joost, you can see the clip on this site .
I haven't seen any video content created specifically for Joost; but some of the recycled material works better, I think, with Joost playlist format.
Esurance is using its Carbon Copy 9animated series, and it works better than on the web: you can sit back and watch all the episodes at once without having to click and wait and click again (the web version requires Windows Media Player or Quicktime). If you click the "hand raiser" -- that semi-circle area on the top -- you'll get the interactive pull-down thingie with interactive features.
Here, things look a bit raw: the Spy option's effect is not immediately clear, and the eSurance logo at the bottom-left corner seems clickable but again does nothing (it could've been a problem on my end or one of Joost's glitches this weekend).
The most interesting feature is the insurance rate quoting applet: when clicked, it takes you to a kind of mini-browser where you are invited to enter you zip code. The feature wasn't working well either; when I typed in the "2" in my 0213* zip, Joost simply kicked me out and into some other channel.
Microsoft has uploaded its "Defy All Challenges" machinima videos promoting the new software suite, and it, too, works well in the playlist mode.
Sony Electronics has a bunch of funny ads for its gadgets. Its "hand raisers" are customized for each individual commercial and offer more info on the product advertised at the very moment. Smart, but strangely, no clickable link to the main site.
Many "hand-raisers" have little more than a "visit our site" link which opens what seems to be a browser embedded into Joost. Although it's not working too well -- you see error messages and the site's background falls off and becomes see-through -- it's an important development. Advertisers can potentially include direct buy-it-now links (would work for impulse purchases such as ringtones or music) and interactive content (games?).
Finally, Joost has raised the invitations limit to 999. Leave your first/last name and email address in the comments (moderated) if you need one. There is no bulk invite feature yet and manual invitations are somewhat laborious, but I think I can handle 20 or so.