On June 22, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Leo Burnett released the details of a new interactive ad unit created for Facebook. Designed by Leo Burnett Chicago, the new Comment ad lets brands spark conversations among friends by posting a video, photo, link or status and allowing people to respond. Via Facebook’s platform, these conversations, in turn, can engage both a brand’s fans and potential fans at scale.
On a global stage at today’s Facebook seminar at Cannes—’Social By Design’—Carolyn Everson, Vice-President, Global Marketing Solutions for Facebook, revealed the new ad unit and related Sponsored Story, emphasizing its ability to enhance the way brands and people connect on Facebook.
“The collaboration between Facebook and Leo Burnett is particularly exciting,” said Mark Renshaw, Chief Innovation Officer of Leo Burnett USA. “Through the creation of this ad unit we’re helping Facebook and brands tap into people’s desire and behavior to participate beyond brands’ Facebook Pages.”
The Comment ad unit was one of several ideas Leo Burnett submitted to Facebook for its 2010 Ad Expo, a call for submissions challenging ad agencies to create a new Facebook advertising unit that was inherently social by design. Leo Burnett called on its global creative leaders to design an innovative and organic way for brands to connect with Facebook users.
As the eighth type of premium ad unit offered on Facebook, the Comment ad unit starts off as a post—video, photo, link or status—to the brand’s Facebook Page and also appears as an ad unit. From that point, Facebook users can comment or respond to the Page post through the ad unit. The conversations that follow can then be surfaced as Sponsored Stories, a way to drive additional exposure and engagement around the conversations between brands and consumers.
“We applaud Leo Burnett for providing brands with a new and unique way to spark conversations among people,” said Blake Chandlee, VP of Global Agency Relations at Facebook. “With the most creative minds in the industry, agencies can and should be leading a new way of marketing that is personalized, social and engaging. We look forward to working with others to see future innovations that come from the agency community.”
Facebook has given Leo Burnett and its clients two months of exclusive use of the new ad unit. Currently, Leo Burnett clients taking advantage of the Comment ad unit and Sponsored Story include, Allstate, Buick (General Motors), Hallmark, Samsung and The Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“The Comment ad is a great example of word-of-mouth-marketing at scale,” said Renshaw. “It’s an organic way to get brands into the conversations that hundreds of millions of Facebook users are having every day.”
Facebook is also forming a 12-member client council, which will consist of representatives of leading agencies along with the social network’s major global clients, who will contribute to the developing advertising approaches at Facebook (two of the first members are Nick Brien, CEO of McCann Worldgroup, and Wendy Clark, head of integrated marketing and communications at Coca-Cola, a top advertiser on Facebook). AdAge reports that “the members will rotate yearly in order to give different companies a chance to participate and influence Facebook’s various ad offerings, such as the latest ‘comments; ad unit, which was created in its first collaboration with an advertising agency.”