Yahoo Hires Don Draper To Pitch Its New Product: Genius Or Desperate?

We can’t decide. On one hand, Yahoo is pitching their new ad platform, APT, to ad people and ad people LOVE the show Mad Men, but on the other hand it’s kind of desperate to rely on someone who plays an ad person on TV to pitch your very real product which your company needs, right? Wonder what their new friends from Bain will think about this…

Anyway, actor Jon Hamm showed up scruffy–very un-Don. (Unless you count the episode where Don got picked up by the cops for drunk driving.) And, he presented as Jon Hamm, not as Don Draper. I mean if you’re going to hire Don Draper you should provide Don Draper, polished and all. Now, that would have been cool.

From CNET’s Caroline McCarthy who was there yesterday, about the product:

When Yahoo finally debuted its display-ad platform in a press conference here on Wednesday, CEO Jerry Yang and President Sue Decker had an unusual guest on hand: actor Jon Hamm, who plays 1960s-era advertising exec Don Draper on the critically acclaimed drama Mad Men.

“Today’s digital advertising process is broken,” Decker said in the press conference, part of the fifth annual New York Advertising Week festivities. “As we see it, we count more than 30 different operational steps, 30, from a time that an ad is conceived to the time that it runs on a publisher’s site and is optimised for their strategy.”

APT hopes to solve those problems. It’s a Web-based product that aims for a smoother and more efficient ad-buying process with a drag-and-drop interface, simple analytics, and all-in-one client “dashboard.” Geared toward not just advertisers, but also digital publishers, media companies, ad networks, and agencies, the technology uses multiple kinds of targeting–geographic, demographic, and behavioural–to achieve what Yahoo says will be the best possible destination for graphical ads with a minimal amount of work

From the New York Post on why Yahoo needs this:

Yahoo! is struggling to regain investor confidence after Microsoft abandoned talks to buy the company earlier this year.

Recent reports that Yahoo! is in talks with AOL about a possible combination, coupled with a search ad partnership with Google, continue to undermine the company’s argument that it can go it alone.

…Another round of layoffs may be in the offing as well after Yang sent a memo to employees informing them the company had hired Bain as consultants, presumably to help cut cuts.

…More than 800 publications that belong to Yahoo!’s newspaper consortium will implement the system.

So far, just two newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News, use the service.

But despite all this Henry Blodget gives one good reason to buy Yahoo.

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