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Pandora lines up advertisers for iPad ad platform

Starbucks, Lexus, and Budweiser are the first advertisers to sponsor the new ad-supported iPad platform from Internet radio provider Pandora.

Pandora's iPad app.
A view of Pandora's iPad app. Pandora Media

Getting a jump on Apple's upcoming iAd service, Pandora Media has designed its own ad platform for its iPad app and enlisted its first three advertisers.

Starbucks, Lexus, and Budweiser are each expected to launch campaigns designed to take advantage of the new ad platform. Similar to iAd, Pandora's iPad ad platform will allow users and potential customers to view the interactive video and audio advertisements without leaving the music-streaming app.

Pandora, which lets people create personal "stations" based on their music tastes, said the in-app ads can be targeted to listeners based on their age, location, and the music they like.

The ads from coffee brewer Starbucks will let users build their own personal Frappuccino drinks online, which then generate a radio station that tries to pair the music with their taste in coffee. The spot from Lexus revs up the engine of an LFA sports car, until it shatters a champagne glass. And Budweiser's promo will connect people with different music festivals that the beer maker is sponsoring this summer.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren is eyeing the iPad as a more powerful ad platform than the iPhone, according to a story in Advertising Age. He sees Apple's tablet as "particularly exciting" for Pandora, since consumers carry the device around with them and engage with it as they listen to music.

Pandora now has 50 million users, with 30 million of them accessing the service through mobile devices, according to Ad Age. Westergren said the company is adding about 10,000 new mobile users each day and is looking to drive that number even further with the iPad.

The popular Pandora offers a Web site where people can create their own Internet radio stations based on their favorite genres of music. The free online version coughs up a series of ads to accompany the music, but users can upgrade to a non-ad version called Pandora One for $36 a year. Pandora's iPhone and iPad apps are strictly ad-driven, at this point.