iAd Woes or a Revolution’s Birth Pangs?

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appleADOTAS – Thursday is iAd day! Hurrah! But who will actually be ready to advertise on July 1 is anyone’s guess.

AdAge reports that many confirmed advertisers are still “fine-tuning” their creative for iAds and will not be ready to go live for weeks or even months. Apparently agencies are being told it will take six to eight weeks to adapt creative for the web and other mobile platforms to the iAd system because Apple is handling the technical production internally. What is this — back of a cereal box mail-in offer?

We have had many people say in these pages that advertisers and agencies demand uniformity, a multiplatform solution. The conceit behind the iAd seems almost ridiculous: a single-platform solution with a $1 million floor, $10 CPM and $2 cost-per-click? In addition, the iPad won’t be available on the iAd platform until November; this deal seems to get more raw by the second.

Yet some advertisers are paying $10 million for exclusivity in certain sectors, which makes Apple boast $60 million in ad spend a few weeks ago seem believable. The names signed up are biggies: Disney, Nissan, Citi (hope the taxpayers aren’t footing that bill), Geico, AT&T, etc.

And supposedly iAds themselves are things of wonder: the ads load during sync so there’s no download time when a user clicks and the targeting makes use of both location and iTunes preferences.

And these factors are enough to make me ponder if the iAd will revolutionize mobile advertising, just like the iPhone revolutionized smartphones. Birth pangs be damned — we could be witnessing the launch of a complete new approach to advertising.

But then I read quotes like this one from Darrell Whitelaw, creative director of mobile shop MIR: Being on the iAd platform is “instant credibility, instant cool,” he told AdAge. “You’re on the new iPhone 4; it really is the one way you can align yourself with that little Apple logo.”

So what takes priority: The coolness factor or the actual functionality? If it’s the former, I can’t imagine the buzz lasting, especially if working with Apple is as headache-inducing as it sounds.

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