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US Air Force flies with rich-media ads on MTV Mobile

The United States Air Force is running rich-media mobile advertising to engage teens and 20-somethings, particularly iPhone users.

Cable television giant MTV Networks Inc. has partnered with mobile advertising company Crisp Wireless to create rich-media campaigns for advertisers such as the Air Force. Through this relationship, Crisp will provide creative services to develop and optimize campaigns for smartphones, and MTV will use Crisp?s rich-media ad formats.

?The target demographic of the Air Force?s mobile advertising campaign is 16-to-24-year-olds,? said Sol Masch, director of mobile marketing at MTV Networks, New York. ?2010 is an extremely exciting time for mobile advertising.

?Given the enhanced capabilities of new smartphones on the market, we are now able to expand the ad products available to our advertisers on the mobile platform,? he said. ?The ad unit that we created with Crisp is a testament to that.?

The ad that Crisp and MTV created features a takeover animation followed by an expandable with click-to-video. The ad was specifically targeted to iPhone users.

While MTV Networks has various mobile properties, the Air Force campaign ran exclusively on the homepage of MTV Mobile.

When a user navigated to, the Air Force animated ad unit took over the whole screen. It appeared as if an A-10 Jet Fighter is smashing through the user's iPhone screen.

After a few seconds, a banner ad appeared at the top of the page with the Air Force's "Echo Zulu" slogan. The user could then either close out the banner or expand it.

If the user tapped the screen, a 15-second video played featuring fighter planes flying and a rock music soundtrack. The video closed with the Air Force's logo and URL,

There was no registration page, as the campaign was about creating a branding experience, rather than lead generation.

Air Force won
The U.S. Air Force  is the aerial and space warfare branch of the U.S. armed forces and one of the American uniformed services.

MTV Networks is a division of media conglomerate Viacom that oversees the operations of many television channels and Internet brands, such as MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TV Land, Spike and Country Music Television.

In addition to MTV Networks, Crisp?s publisher partners include Discovery Communications, A&E Television Networks, Fast Company Inc. and Pro Football Weekly.

In addition to the Air Force, brands that have used Crisp rich-media mobile ads include Lexus, Infiniti and Paramount Pictures.

According to Nielsen, smartphones are due to surpass feature phones in market share, with more than 120 million mobile Internet users by 2011.

This explosion of devices and mobile Web and application usage opens new avenues for brands to interact with consumers.   

The Air Force tapped MTV Networks, which in turn tapped Crisp Wireless to deliver the mobile rich-media ad campaign.

The Air Force?s mobile ad campaign launched in December and ran for nine days throughout the month.

MTV and Crisp declined to share the results of the campaign.

This partnership with Crisp will help MTV?s direct ad sales team propose new mobile offerings to brand advertisers.

Mobile takes off
This is not the U.S. Air Force?s first foray into mobile advertising.

In October, the Air Force turned to mobile advertising within CBS Interactive?s mobile version of to recruit young adults (see story).

Crisp provides its client and partners with a range of mobile ad formats, including location-aware, click-to-call, click-to-video, animation and socially-connected ads, as well as mobile advertising analytics.

?As this campaign shows, the strategy is to shatter prior conventions used in mobile Web advertising,? said Tom Foran, chief revenue officer of Crisp, New York. ?Crisp Wireless provides MTV and their agencies a turn-key rich media solution?ad units and detailed reporting.

?Crisp sees 2010 as the year brands take mobile seriously,? he said. ?The rapid growth of smartphone Web and app usage, proliferation of rich ad forms and enhanced reporting will pave the way for greater investment in mobile from brand advertisers and their agencies.?