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Universal Lets Pterodactyls Fly for 'Jurassic Park III' Promotion

Universal Pictures has kicked off a rich media online advertising effort to tease moviegoers into seeing “Jurassic Park III” when it opens July 18 in theaters nationwide.

Using Unicast Superstitials and Eyeblaster technology, the campaign uses the movie sequel's pterodactyl character to whip up interest among online consumers.

The media plan covers sites such as Excite, Snowball, Flipside, E! Online, ESPN.com and fileplanet.com, an Mplayer Entertainment Network property.

“[Universal] certainly wants to generate buzz about the movie, that's probably the major intent,” said Hans Theisen, senior vice president of ad sales and operations at Mplayer, Irvine, CA. “They get paid to put people in movie theaters.

“They also want people to go to the 'Jurassic Park' site, maybe learn a little bit about the movie before they go [to theaters] and hopefully spread the word to other audiences,” Theisen said.

Visitors to fileplanet.com are randomly served the shadow of a pterodactyl swooping across the screen three times, accompanied by ominous sounds. Once the dinosaur disappears, a rectangular banner pops up. The banner says, “It's not just a walk in the park … it's a Jurassic 3-D adventure.”

Clicking on the banner takes the visitor to the movie's pages on jurassicpark.com.

Eyeblaster's technology enabled the pterodactyl's shadow to fly across the Web page. This uses dynamic HTML to make ads that merge with the Web page's content.

“What Eyeblaster allows is a kind of meta-layer over a Web page that is invisible but that you can create images that the user sees,” Theisen said. “I think Universal, as a whole, likes to create this image for themselves that they are a leader in rich media technology on the Web.”

The other ad is a Unicast Superstitial with the same tag line as the Eyeblaster version. A Flash production, the Superstitial is similar to the movie's TV commercials in its dinosaur chases.

Running through July 22, the campaign includes e-mails, the “Jurassic Park” site, free tickets and a “Live the Adventure Sweepstakes.” DDB Entertainment, Los Angeles, handles the account.

Referring to the cost of an effort such as this one, Theisen said, “When we run a successful [dynamic] HTML campaign and the way advertisers' budgets run, we're looking at the $50,000 to $100,000 range.”

The decision to run the Web spot on fileplanet.com was intentional. The site each month attracts 3 million to 4 million tech-savvy enthusiasts who download heavy files of games, software and Web tools.

“People that come to our network are people that use very fast modems, high-speed connections, processors and browsers,” Theisen said. “They're the kind of people that see this creative, and that's what Universal wanted.”

He added that fileplanet.com users “are very influential and are really early adopters in nature.”

The rich media effort appears only once a day to each unique visitor to fileplanet.com. This is a precaution against slowing users every time they visit fileplanet.com on that day.

The ad is served at a special time of day as well.

“We tend to run more of the impressions in the afternoon than in the morning because we feel that people are taking more time then to look at creative and hopefully respond to it,” Theisen said. “A user could still see it in the morning or any time of the day.”

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