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The quiet killer market in online ads: Placebos

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February 24, 2006

The quiet killer market in online ads: Placebos

Stephen Baker

When advertisers research the effectiveness of an online advertisement, they typically populate half of the pages with the ad--and the other half, the control group, with a filler ad, a placebo. This is valuable advertising real estate that is often given away. One common placebo ad, I'm hearing, is Red Cross.

But Jeff Lanctot, general manager of the powerhouse agency Avenue A Razorfish, tells me that other charities are campaigning hard to place their ads as placebos. He says that Weight-Watchers uses its placebos to plug charities that fight hunger.

A question for advertisers: Do you folks get tax write-offs for your sponsorship of charity placebos?

12:43 PM


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