Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

Acura unveils its RDX compact crossover SUV with a syncronized rich media roadblock on Movies that’s hardly Lilliputian.

As a crossover vehicle, Acura’s second generation RDX (“intelligently built for the size of your life”) is big enough for Brobdingnag while compact enough for Lilliput. So it’s appropriate that the miniature inhabitants of the latter land unveil the new RDX in a syncronized rich media display ad on Movies to appeal to the giant car lover in all of us.

Acura, the exclusive sponsor of Yahoo!’s official Tribeca site, ran a campaign in late April and early May that consisted of two ads executing in sync as a roadblock, so called because both units ran for a full day as opposed to your more typical partial-day execution.

The Acura’s syncronized unveiling happens as soon as the user lands on Movies. The Lilliputians in the 970 x 90 banner use all the elbow grease they’ve got to lift the drape off the RDX in the right-hand 300 x 250 graphical unit. The drape ends up in the north banner and falls on a few of the Lilliputians. Not to worry, those little big car lovers emerge just in time for the banner to switch to the static image of the RDX paired with its logo while a pair of Lilliputians carry a hyperlinked “Discover RDX” button to take you to the crossover’s official site.
Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

The engine driving the sync is Flash LocalConnection. Since both units were designed in Adobe Flash, the designers used Flash LocalConnection to allow the separate Flash files to “talk” to each other and delay the start of the animation until both were loaded and ready to play.

The 300 x 250 unit boasts an “Expand” button to let the user explore the RDX without leaving Yahoo! Movies. This stretches the 300 x 250 unit into a 560 x 300 unit complete with exterior and interior views of the RDX, a 360° toggle, videos, and another “Discover RDX” button. The expansion happens courtesy of a Flash command that was “animated” into the ad by RPA, Acura’s creative shop.

Both the exterior and interior views feature Lilliputians working diligently to keep the vehicle buffed and polished while you click those little red dots to get more details on the RDX’s design and functionality. The dots were made with ActionScript 3 (AS3), an open-source scripting language designed mainly for Flash-based programs.
Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

The 360° view is a marriage of approximately 30 separate jpegs of the RDX. RPA coded Flash commands to make the Lilliputions rotate the showroom platform as you toggle.

Lastly, the Videos button presents the TV spots incorporated into the 560 x 300 unit as Flash NetStream objects.

Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies
Ad Tech of the Week: Acura Syncronized Roadblock on Yahoo! Movies

Even though RPA shouldered the brunt of the rich media assembly, Yahoo!’s Ad Tech team still had to coordinate with them about ad placement, specs, troubleshooting, and tracking. RPA of course wouldn’t be familiar with the pixel count of Yahoo!’s ad formats and placements, so Ad Tech had to ensure, for example, that the right number of pixels separated the bottom of the 970 x 90 from the top of the 300 x 250 and the expanded 600 x 300, while maintaining the correct pixel count between the edge of the units and the edge of the page.

Most NT1 banners are only 66 pixels tall, but Acura requested an extra 24 pixels to afford the Lilliputians more room to work. This wasn’t a big deal in terms of extra programming, but since it does mean pushing more page content below the fold, Ad Tech had to consult with the Y! Movies team to be sure they were okay with it. Fortunately, they were happy to oblige Acura, since it’s not every day you see a non-movie ad on Movies, what they call a non-endemic ad.

With its nod to “Gulliver’s Travels”, Acura’s syncronized roadblock makes playful, and literary, use of Yahoo!’s digital canvas, allowing the user to do some exploring of their own without infringing too much on live page content.

--Thomas T. Lady

Editor's Note: This article is part of a new series entitled "Ad Tech of the Week." For more information visit the Yahoo! Advertising Blog or follow them on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.