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buy.at joins with Coull for LittlewoodsDirect.com video application

Partnership marks Europe’s first use of interactive video advertising and affiliate marketing


10 July, London, UK ---- Platform-A’s buy.at announced today that it is launching an online interactive video application for Shop Direct Group , the UK’s leading online and home shopping retailer.  

Developed in conjunction with Coull http://www.coull.com , the application is available for affiliates on the buy.at network and is the first time this video format has been used as part of an affiliate campaign in Europe.  The buy.at affiliate network, http://www.buy.at , is an Advertising.com Network Solution, provided through AOL’s digital advertising business, Platform-A.

The interactive video advertisements feature models wearing the latest big-brand clothing from the Group’s LittlewoodDirect.com site.  Each item of clothing and accessory featured in the video has been assigned its own tag.  Customers can click through to a dedicated page for the product, and a further click will forward the customer to the product page on the LittlewoodsDirect.com site.  The activity is tracked to ensure affiliates are paid the correct commission for the activity they generate.

The Shop Direct Group has worked with buy.at since 2004 to increase sales for LittlewoodsDirect.com, as well as their other brands: Additions Direct, Great Universal, Littlewoods and Marshall Ward.  

LittlewoodsDirect.com features 16,000 product lines from furniture, white goods and electronics to clothes for men, women and children.  Outfits from major brands such as Diesel, Morgan and French Connection are featured, as well as swimwear, lingerie, sportswear, bridal wear, shoes and new ranges from Trinny and Susannah.

“Shop Direct Group is always looking to innovate and find new ways of reaching our customers.  The development of this video platform with buy.at and Coull places Shop Direct Group at the forefront of affiliate marketing.  The ability to take the customer directly to a product page from a product video opens up new and exciting opportunities for us,” said Neal Preece, e-commerce director at Shop Direct Group.   “It’s a great tool for affiliates, which enables them to enhance their campaign promotions and drive even more sales with exciting, high-quality content.”

“buy.at is the first affiliate network in Europe to integrate this technology for the advertisers and affiliates on our network and Littlewoods is the first client to adopt it, “ said Brendan Condon, managing director of Platform-A International.  “Shop Direct Group is a forward-thinking retailer that innovates to maintain its market-leading position.  This interactive video tool will maximise the impact of the LittlewoodsDirect.com brand, engaging the customer online and driving more sales for their affiliate campaign,” Condon continued.

Irfon Watkins, CEO at Coull comments, “Interactive video is a powerful tool for enhancing product placement and driving sales online and buy.at is innovating in the affiliate sector by offering it to its network of 9,000 affiliates.  Major brands are getting excited about the impact interactive video advertising will make to their online campaigns.”

buy.at will track click-throughs, sales and cost-per-acquisition commissions by integrating video tags with its tracking and campaign analytics.  If the LittlewoodsDirect.com video advertisement is copied from an affiliate’s site and pasted into another website or a customer’s social network profile, Coull’s technology ensures the tracking and reporting remain embedded.  

buy.at manages a combination of SEO and PPC affiliates, content site, comparison and loyalty site affiliates to increase sales for the Shop Direct Group.  In January 2008, Shop Direct Group consolidated all of its affiliate marketing accounts onto buy.at.  Research commissioned by buy.at and conducted by e-consultancy.com into affiliate marketing in the retail sector, revealed that retailers spend 19 per cent of their online marketing budget on affiliate marketing and 71 per cent of them expect to increase investment in affiliate marketing over next two years.

----Ends----

----Notes to editors----

Read more about Hitesh Bhatt and the Coull team at the Elemental media centre.

Click on Media Alerts to register   to receive forthcoming news from Elemental Communications and its clients.

This press release is available in PDF, plain text and Word formats.  Photographs are available of the Coull team .

The media spokespeople for Coull are Irfon Watkins, chief executive officer and Claudia Giovannoni, marketing director. 

About Coull
http://www.coull.com


Coull
is a video advertising enabler.  Through its in-house interactive video platform Coull Engage®, Coull enables advertisers, brands, agencies and web publishers to create interactive video campaigns that deliver a customisable user experience with above average levels of engagement.

Supported by robust and straight-forward reporting tools, content owners can easily access real-time campaign tracking, measurement and monitoring statistics to maximise the effectiveness of content delivery and interaction.

Coull’s technology and ad formats are accepted by well-known and established publishers, including Bebo, Lycos, MSN and MySpace and integrate with existing campaign reporting and ad serving systems.

Clients that benefit from Coull’s technology include Agent Provocateur, Boots, Mindshare, Renault and Unilever.

Coull is backed by Rupert Hambro & Partners, Finance South West Growth Fund and Creative Ventures and led by an experienced management team.

About LittlewoodsDirect.com
http://www.littlewoodsdirect.com


Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited is the UK’s leading online and home shopping retailer, with annual sales of around £2 billion and five million customers. We sell all of the major brands, including Sony, Nike, Levi’s, Adidas, Phillips, Kodak, Dyson, Bosch, Amanda Wakeley, Morgan and Miss Sixty.

Littlewoods is one of the largest online retailers in the UK and plan to double our online sales to £750 million in the next three years.

To support the expected growth of online retailing, Shop Direct Group has a highly valuable and efficient infrastructure that no other UK retailers can rival – sourcing, warehousing, single pick and pack distribution, home delivery to customers.

About Platform-A
http://www.platform-a.com  


Platform-A, AOL’s advertising business, is the industry’s largest digital advertising platform, offering the most comprehensive suite of marketing solutions, powered by the Web’s best advertising technologies.

Platform-A’s network includes AOL’s leading media properties – AOL.com, AIM, MapQuest, and more – and Advertising.com’s third-party networks. Platform-A also includes TACODA’s audience insights and behavioral targeting; Quigo, a site- and content-targeting solution; ADTECH, an international digital ad serving business;

Third Screen Media, a mobile ad serving network; and buy.at, an affiliate marketing solution. Platform-A currently has operations in the United States, nine countries across Europe, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and Japan through a joint venture with Matsui.


Tags: buy.at, Platform-A, Littlewoods, LittlewoodsDirect.com, Shop Direct Group, online video, interactive video, Irfon Watkins