Normally I'd shy away from ever claiming a 'world's first' - someone, somewhere must surely have got there first? But in this instance we think we are on solid ground.
Working with the team at Mediacom we have been busy putting the finishing touches to a digital advertising campaign to launch Electronic Arts' next big title: Mass Effect 2. The campaign launches next week.
The brief was screaming out for the use of special effects to create a compelling in-game style of experience. Microsoft's Silverlight was perfect for the task. Deep Zoom and Smooth Streaming offered our creative team angles for creating a game experience effectively within the digital banner (that's a static image taken from the banner experience above - and another below. I'll post a link when the campaign is live next week).
Everyone including the client loved the concepts and creative solution. Just one small problem. When we came to discuss the opportunity with Microsoft Advertising, none of the usual suspect ad serving companies were capable of serving expandable and truly interactive Silverlight banners.
Undaunted we spoke with Ad Dynamo, the South African HQed ad serving marketplace. Ad Dynamo were up for it. Together we have spent a couple of months planning and building the world's first genuinely interactive Silverlight ad serving capability as a collaboration with Ad Dynamo, ourselves and the folk at Microsoft Advertising.
So when the Mass Effect 2 campaign launches on MSN next week, it'll feature the world's first ad served expandable Silverlight banner. The campaign is getting broad exposure on the MSN homepage, amongst other locations, so it'll be seen by millions of visitors.
Our Silverlight team - and the client - are all excited by the creative experience achieved. But being a restless bunch, they have already moved on to explore what other creative effects are now possible to deliver within digital advertising formats that can be enabled by Silverlight ad serving.
And, obviously, Microsoft is pleased to open up the world opportunity offered by Silverlight's capabilities to advertisers and creative teams. I suspect it is an area many creative agencies aren't currently equipped to explore. If creative agencies want to know more about the project, or need some help in using Silverlight to create rich experiences, get in touch.
Update: the Microsoft Silverlight product team have posted on this project here. Thanks chaps.