Rovion's InPerson Technology: Changing the Face of Online Advertising


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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG165
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2005-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Rovion, Inc.
Industry : Information Technology
Countries : Europe, USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Consumers have long been ignoring advertising that comes at them from a banner or a skyscraper format, much like they've started ignoring other forms of rich media advertising. The Rovion technology doesn't look like an ad. It's a real person that walks onto the user's screen and talks directly to them about what they want to know-be it a promotion, a new service, or just a simple welcome that guides a user through the website."1

- Len Ostroff, CEO of Rovion, Inc., in 2006.

"I think media buyers in general are always looking for great new technologies and splashy effects online."2

- Emily Riley, Jupiter Research3 analyst, in 2006.

"Some fear the talking spokespeople have the potential to become a little hokey, and wonder whether offering the unit on so many sites will lead to overexposure and reduce its appeal... Rovion's unit won't change the standards we've come to adopt. But you can expect this form of borderless advertising to produce a bevy of interesting campaigns as buyers realize they're no longer bound by leaderboards and video screens."4

- Tessa Wegert, digital media strategist with Enlighten,5 in 2006.

Truly 'Out-Of-The-Box'

On December 13, 2006, Rovion Inc. (Rovion), a US-based technology firm, announced that its proprietary patent-pending InPerson technology was being used by software giant, Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) to launch a campaign for its Microsoft Office Live6 that was targeted at small business owners. Microsoft's decision to try out the InPerson technology was partly prompted by the fact that its experience with other online advertising media was not too great. Microsoft felt that InPerson, which enabled streaming videos of spokespeople who could pop up seamlessly on top of the contents and interact directly with the customer, would cut through the growing clutter of online advertisements.

Len Ostroff (Ostroff), CEO of Rovion, said, "We are thrilled to work with Microsoft for the launch of the Office Live platform. This InPerson campaign allows Microsoft to truly engage with its online audience, creating a more personal and effective method of communicating with the millions of small and 'at-home' business owners who are attempting to grow their businesses."7

Rovion's technology gained prominence in 2005 when it was successfully used by companies such as Discovery Stores8 (Discovery).

By end-2006, Rovion had developed a customer base of more than 100 companies.

The success of Rovion's InPerson technology stemmed from the fact that it was simple to use and resulted in borderless advertising. With InPerson technology, the ad videos were more lifelike as the people in the ad were no longer "in a box". The use of celebrities in such ads came across much more successfully as they looked very lifelike.

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1] Pat Cauley, "Website Marketing Gets Personal," www.electronicretailermag.com, September, 2006.

2] Kate Kaye, "Advertising.com Accepts Rovion Format in Rich Media Network," www.clikz.com, April 24, 2006.

3] Jupiter Research is a division of US-based JupiterKagan, Inc. It is a global provider of original information, images and digital content for professionals in the information technology, business, and creative fields.

4] Tessa Wegert, "Advertising without Borders," www.clikz.com, May 4, 2006.

5] Enlighten, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, is a digital marketing, web development, and e-business consulting firm.

6] Microsoft Office Live is an Internet-based software service designed for small businesses with less than ten employees. It was launched on February 15, 2006.

7] "Rovion to Support the Launch of Microsoft Office Live," www.rovion.com, December 13, 2006.

8] Discovery Stores is the retail and licensing arm of the global media and entertainment company, Discovery Communications, Inc.

 

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