By: Ken Liebeskind

The ‘Shoskeles’ Is Used To Promote Print Subscriptions

Starting next week, visitors to will see a Boston
Globe home delivery truck “driving” across the home page.
When it gets to the right side of the page, a newspaper will pop
out with an important message: subscriptions to the Globe
are 50% off.

The novel subscription solicitation, which begins April 18, uses
Shoskeles, a new online advertising unit with free moving
animations developed by United Virtualities,
a New York firm. (The new ad unit is named
after the creator’s daughter.)

The company is less than a year old and the Shoskele is its first
product. The browser-driven, platform-agnostic ads have been used
by and the Bermuda Board of Tourism. No plug-ins are

“We’re always trying to investigate new ad models that will
deliver higher response, so it got our attention,” said Stephanie
Shore,’s director of marketing. Robert Powers, vice
president of marketing services at the Globe, added,
“We’re excited about the new program. We think it will capture
viewers’ eyes and adding animation will convey the excitement we
feel about selling the Globe.”

Powers noted that the Globe has previously used banner and
tile ads to sell the newspaper on, but it has never
used a rich-media unit like Shoskeles before. He said online
promotions work better than standard telephone solicitations
because the response is proactive. “People who volunteer and come
to us to subscribe are more loyal and less likely to drop out,”
Powers said. “This applies to the online world. They order and
tend to stay with us, unlike phone efforts.”

The Shoskele appears on the screen as soon as the home page
loads. The animation lasts about eight seconds and cannot be
stopped by the visitor, according to Christopher Actis, marketing
director of United Virtualities.

United Virtualities will serve the ads, which visitors will see
once a day. They won’t see them if they sign onto a
second time.’s Shore hopes the Shoskeles can be used for other
advertisers. “We’ll test the results of [our own] subscription
solicitation first,” she said. “If it works, it will be a nice
story to tell. Our advertisers will be excited.”

Ken Liebeskind is a free-lancer for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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