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$100 million in NBC advertising

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 09:23 PM

Today's IAC deal with NBC Universal had this little tidbit -

"IAC will have netted approximately $1 billion in cash, repurchased 56.6 million IAC shares, and obtained approximately $100 million in advertising across NBC-Universal's various networks over the next three years."

Rusty remember how I was screaming about WHY OH WHY doesn't Jeeves do an advertising deal the way iWon did a $70 million ad deal with CBS years ago and it made them a top 10 site? Danny scoffed at the notion that TV deals are important. You said TV and radio ads for Jeeves? Everybody laughed. Look what IAC just did with NBC network and cable for promotion.

Jeeves is going to get major media marketing now. I LOVE IT!

#2 bwelford


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Posted 08 June 2005 - 09:41 PM

MUSCLE13, I'd missed out on this one so thought it might be worth adding in more details. Here is what the Guardian Unlimited said about it.



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Posted 08 June 2005 - 10:13 PM

Thanks BWelford. Its getting really obvious that Diller is setting up Jeeves to take major search share away from the big boys. And IAC has the resources to make it happen.

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 07:52 AM

Muscle, there is no need for "I told you so". ;)

I don't think Danny "scoffed at the notion that TV deals are important" he did say that Google did not need TV ads to get to where they are today.

Anyway, I think its great and I am very happy you posted this information here to discuss on how it will benefit the Ask Jeeves brand.

Thank you.

#5 projectphp


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Posted 09 June 2005 - 09:06 AM

Diller is setting up Jeeves to take major search share away from the big boys

I remain, as ever, unconvinced.

IMHO, Ads and marketing of search need to be beyond brilliant to succeed. TV ads need to give people a reason to switch SE, or they will get nowhere.

Down here we have a search engine called Sensis. Their neat idea was to combine the yellow pages (Business pone numbers and details), white pages (residential phone numbers), CitySearch (An online Aussie directory / activities type portal) and a search engine together. The theory is you can find Tap Shoes made in NY on Google,, but you can't get a number for a local pizza shop.

Sensis spent 9 million dollars on TVCs, bus sides and billboards in their first run twelve months ago. They are back with a new interface and, I believe, a larger budget.

So, pot noodle for the first person who guesses what their Market share is? 10%? Lower. 5%? Lower. 1%? Lower. Really? Yep, $10+ million, and a less than 1% marketshare.


Unfortunately, this nice idea has had poorly executed marketing. The Ads have sucked and, most importantly, have given me, an Aussie Google user who spends all day online and very much their target audience, absolutely no compelling reason to change.

As an example, a new TVC show a guy wanting a slab (slang for a case of beer) and getting a slab of concrete. The implication being Google don't understand what you want. Oddly, you get both results on Sensis.

So Sensis continue, as with the last set of ads, to trumpet a bogus USP (they understand Australian slang) when they should be trumpeting a real USP (they can find stuff you want locally) while at the same time not convincing me they can do all the other stuff (like find other answers I might need).

Similarly, NineMSN (Local MSN) have spent millions on ads about search, including a "brand building" campaign that never mentioned who the ad was for... Ad exces huh?). Despite this, all the data I have shows Google climbing in Marketshare against NineMSN (in Aus, Google account for between 60 and 70% of referrals I track) and NineMSN, which has massive natural traffic because it is the home of the major TV station as well as the default home page for Aussie IE installations, has dropped from about 30% circa 2002, to about 20% today.

So, in my isolated country's experience of TVCs and search, the expected outcome hasn't been realised at all. In fact, the combined Sensis and NineMSN budgets spent on marketing hasn't been nearly as good as or effective as Google's strategy of being the best and virally promoting via iniatives like Google SiteMaps (disclosure: my article), the toolbar and a free Blogger.

I hope that Ask does a better job (they have some nice tech) but history and experience dictate otherwise. My $0.02.



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Posted 09 June 2005 - 10:45 PM

History says otherwise? I think not. iWon had a $70 million ad deal with CBS in 1999. They went from nothing to over 10 million monthly users in a matter of a few months. They became a top 10 trafficked internet site within a year. They stopped promoting and their traffic dropped like a rock. Mass media marketing on a consistent continuing basis can produce tremendous internet traffic. Yahoo commercials are everywhere. MSN spent what about $300 million on their last TV campaign? Is Google that much better a search engine now than Yahoo or MSN or Jeeves? Maybe a few years ago. Not now. Mass marketing is going to be huge in this business just like it is in every other media business. Anybody that thinks Google has a complete lock on search dominance really should think back to when AltaVista ruled the search business. Google won't go away, but Yahoo, MSN and Jeeves will make this quite a horse race right alongside Google. Branding is going to be increasingly important as the business matures and the quality of search technology evens out among the 4 players. Does anybody really believe that Google search is currently that far superior to Yahoo MSN or Jeeves?



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Posted 09 June 2005 - 10:52 PM

Another common misconception in search is that in order for the other players to gain market share, people need to switch from Google. Nothing could be further from the truth. The average internet searcher uses 2 or 3 different search engines on a regular basis. People forget that search is a media business. How many of you read just one newspaper or watch just one TV network?

#8 BillSlawski


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Posted 10 June 2005 - 12:38 AM

It will be interesting to see if the advertising does make a difference. It might.

I do think that it is possible for a company to do well online without television, but it could make a difference for some companies.

I wonder how well or poorly Amazon has done since they stopped advertising on TV. I'm not sure that I've ever seen TV ads for some online properties, such as Craig's list, but eBay does do some significant online advertising.

At the risk of sending this thread completely off topic (I don't think that will happen otherwise I wouldn't do this) and interesting blog post from Seth Godin that compares Craig's list with eBay - Small is the New Big. Actually, maybe it isn't that far off topic:

Big used to matter. Big meant economies of scale. 


There was a good reason for this. Value was added in ways that big organizations were good at. Value was added with efficient manufacturing, widespread distribution and very large R&D staffs. Value came from hundreds of operators standing by and from nine-figure TV ad budgets. * Value came from a huge sales force.

*emphasis mine.



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Posted 10 June 2005 - 04:33 PM

Bragadocchio - I have been reading some of your posts on Jeeves. Good research with no ego or snobbish tones at all. Rare to see that in internet search forums. Good stuff.

#10 BillSlawski


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Posted 10 June 2005 - 10:14 PM

Thanks, MUSCLE13

Found some more interesting stuff about Ask tonight which I'm going to post in a separate thread. Don't know if it will inspire much discussion, but it's going to keep me a little busy for a couple of days.

#11 MUSCLE13


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Posted 01 July 2005 - 07:21 AM



Ask Jeeves Reaches Out to Agencies
June 30, 2005
By Celeste Ward

SAN FRANCISCO Web portal Ask Jeeves is talking to approximately six agencies about handling creative chores on its ad account, sources said.

The incumbent is Omnicom Group's TBWAChiatDay in San Francisco, which broke new ads for the client in February, returning the Oakland, Calif.-based company to TV after an absence of four years.

TBWACD could not immediately be reached, and it was unclear if the shop is defending. Ask Jeeves officials did not return calls.

The client in recent years has spent about $5 million annually on ads, down from a high of $20 million in 2000, at the crest of the dot-com boom, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Sources said Ask Jeeves plans a major post-review relaunch, with paid media spending to exceed $30 million.

In February, Barry Diller's IAC paid $1.85 billion for Ask Jeeves, which it now looks to recast as the hub of its various Internet properties. Those also include Expedia, LendingTree and Match.com. (Diller has suggested Ask Jeeves would be renamed, with an emphasis placed on the site's "Ask" capabilities.)

The TBWACD effort touted Ask Jeeves as an authoritative source of information and featured "experts" on various topics, such as off-key American Idol contestant William Hung. That work was tagged, "Ask Jeeves. And get what you're searching for."

ówith Deanna Zammit

#12 rcjordan


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Posted 01 July 2005 - 10:01 AM

Back in the Cro-Magnon period of the web, 1998-9, NBC rolled out a joint venture around the search engine Snap (later stupidly rebranded as NBCi). Part of the deal was TV promotion. I don't recall the details of the ad package, but I can recall seeing significant ad spots around 9-10 PM.

I had a large site of approx 4000 pages that was well-positioned in Snap. Snap was, simply put, a gusher. The demographic was right --probably straight out of QVC-- and they were ready/willing/able to spend online. I have no doubt that TV can herd the masses to the web and I used to have the logs and check stubs to prove it.

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