Fox News and WSJ Look to Turn Video Ads Into Mobile Coupons

Media giants join mDialog initiative

Headshot of Christopher Heine

Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Shaw Media want to help advertisers convert their TV commercials into hyper-local mobile commerce opportunities. Today, the companies announced that they are working with mDialog to create "tap-through" video ads aimed at smartphone users who are perusing these publishers' digital properties.

While the back-end wiring is pretty complicated for non-IT pros to get their head around (consider the term "cloud-side video stream management platform"), the main concept behind mDialog's service is relatively simple: it's about helping brands deliver location-based coupons via mobile ads. And while mDialog's adDialog platform involves other marketing abilities like 3-D modeling promos that may interest auto brands, it's the couponing possibilities that seem most intriguing—especially for CPGs and retailers.

For instance, when a brand's 15- or 30-second spot gets repurposed for interactive videos via, say, Fox New's mobile site, the San Francisco-based tech company's system can serve a digital coupon. The video ads can be targeted by location, and iPhone/iPad users can save the coupon to their phone's Passbook application. Then, thanks to PassBook's geo-fencing alerts feature, the consumers will be notified when they are near a participating retailer.

"It's an opportunity to fill inventory in a creative way," Jeff Misenti, chief digital officer for Fox News Digital, told Adweek. "It's important to have an ad client that not only works with the phones but tablets as well. We need to integrate seamlessly across devices and screen sizes to be effective in these environments."

Saatchi & Saatchi's Team One division is one of mDialog's key agency partners. While Team One isn't disclosing interested brands, its clients include names like Lexus, American Express and Ritz-Carlton.

In an email, Tom Eslinger, Saatchi & Saatchi's global digital creative director and ecd of integrated production, added, "Based on the initial extremely positive feedback from [our] clients, most will take advantage of this highly engaging advancement for advertisers. The implementation of the technology will vary."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.