AlwaysOn favorites: Play-Doh bunnies, sunglasses, and a blender

At its New York conference, the digital advertising publication showcases a number of successful online video ads.

NEW YORK--Will it blend? This innovative ad campaign sure did.

A lot of Madison Avenue types have packed into midtown Manhattan's upscale Mandarin Oriental hotel for the annual OnMedia NYC conference, a sort of Silicon-Valley-meets-the-ad-industry event. The conference, which started Monday and ends Wednesday, is presented by new-media trade publication AlwaysOn. At the end of the day on Tuesday, AlwaysOn founder Tony Perkins announced 2007's "Best of Broadband (BOB) Awards," a hand-picked list of the top Web video ads that achieved viral success and actually worked.

Gimmicky? Of course. But after a day of panels and interviews, with plenty of talk of monetization and ROI and user engagement and the attention economy and just about every other ad-industry cliche you've ever heard of (as well as some you haven't), it was quite refreshing to watch a bunch of YouTube videos representing ad campaigns that actually worked. Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

Among the winners were winners of user-generated ad contests like Frito Lay's "Crash the Super Bowl" competition; faux-amateur clips like Ray-Ban's "Never Hide" ad; too-edgy-for-TV spots like one of Unilever's Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads; and naturally, "Will It Blend?" The YouTube video series from blender manufacturer BlendTec had been created without the help of an extrenal agency, and had already built up quite a fan base when it published the notorious "iPhone in a blender" video.

The full list is here. But what I'd like to know is, for every one of these runaway hits, how many equally creative Web video ad campaigns flop? I'm still a believer in randomness on the Web. But then again, I can't see any way that a guy putting an iPhone into a blender and hitting the "smoothie" button couldn't have been a huge hit.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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