Marketers Offered a Cash Back Guarantee13 Sep, 2012 By: Doug McPherson
NEW YORK – A digital advertising agency is venturing into unchartered waters this week: it says that when an advertiser contracts for user-initiated video, all streams that run on Undertone (the name of the ad agency based in New York City) will be viewed by users who intend to watch video content. If the advertiser can demonstrate that its ads appear in auto-play streams or other non-user-initiated environments, Undertone will refund the cost of the campaign, up to $50,000.
Some believe this is a first-of-its-kind offer and it appears to raise the bar on accountability. Conventional TV typically gives advertisers make-good audience impressions, but not money back. Undertone’s guarantee means cash back to advertisers for campaigns that don’t deliver the audiences they contracted for.
In a press release, the company said that today’s video marketplace suffers from “significant fragmentation, as the medium is frequently misunderstood and incorrectly sold. Many buyers are still unsure of the formats they’re purchasing, and delivery continues to differ from the original contract.”
Jared M. Skolnick, vice president of product marketing for Undertone, said in the release, “Online video consumption and video ad inventory are steadily increasing, however many advertisers are discouraged by previous bad experiences and the continued lack of transparency and accountability. With [our] … guarantee, we’re giving advertisers complete confidence by ensuring that when they buy user-initiated in-stream inventory, that’s exactly what they receive.”
Undertone, which says it has run more than 10,000 campaigns, launched a similar offer in March that gives advertisers up to a $50,000 refund on its display ad network buys if they failed to meet agreed-upon brand lift guarantees and follows an earlier “quality guarantee” it started in 2008 on the quality of the pages its clients’ ads are placed on.