The interactive advertising industry is being driven by a number of rich media formats and technologies that promise to break through the clutter and garner the audience’s attention. These ad formats and technologies enable advertisers to enhance the user’s experience (and thus their brand) through interactivity, streaming video, animation, and sound. This month, we briefly examine ten of the best of these rich media formats.

Eyeblaster’s Commercial Break: These advertisements appear in the main browser window, running either when the user first enters the website or between pages. The content is streamed to the user and the experience is similar to a traditional television commercial – with the added benefit of being able to click through to the advertiser’s website. This general type of online ad is known generically as a Webmercial or Intromercial.

Eyeblaster’s Full-Page Overlay: The full-page overlay is also known as a takeover ad. This is one of the most intrusive advertisements on the Web, appearing over the content of the page (although there is a “close” button to cut the ad short if the user wishes). These animated advertisements often include sound to enhance the experience.

Eyeblaster’s Wallpaper Ad: The Wallpaper ad is one of the more subtle rich media powered formats. Although it may include a small banner that appears briefly over the content of the page, the main element of the ad consists of changing the background of the page to reflect the theme of the overall ad.

Point•Roll’s BadBoy: The BadBoy ad is an overlay ad that the user can interact with or close at will. After the ad appears over the content, an expandable banner is left behind. The user can then manipulate the ad further by mousing over or clicking on this banner.

Point•Roll’s FatBoy: The FatBoy ad is a very robust format that can contain streaming video, animated cartoon shorts, and more. When a user rolls the mouse over a FatBoy ad, the ad instantly expands, exposing additional panels below, above, to the left, and/or right of the original ad area. When the user moves the mouse off the ad or the panel, the panels instantly disappear, permitting the user to continue viewing the original website.

Point•Roll’s TowelBoy: Upon initial page load, this ad snaps open, exposing the user to a larger HTML, GIF, or Flash message space. After a few seconds, the ad automatically snaps back to a standard unit size. The user can then mouse-over the ad to view the larger message again and interact at will.

Pulse’s Veepers: Veepers enable advertisers to create and deploy virtual characters for Web and wireless applications. Pulse’s Veepers software transforms standard digital images (photos and illustrations) into interactive, animated characters that do not require plug-ins to view or hear.

United Virtualities’ Ooqa Ooqas: The Ooqa Ooqa ad allows the advertiser to transform the browser interface itself into a branded experience. These temporary browser transformations preserve the browser’s functionality while enabling the advertiser to introduce additional functionalities.

United Virtualities’ Shoshkeles: Shoshkeles is an out-of-banner ad format consisting of free moving animation with synchronized sound. As with many of the other formats discussed above, these ads may obscure the page’s content for a short period of time. These ads can be embedded on a Web page or even sent through an HTML-based e-mail message.

Unicast’s Superstitials: The Superstitial is an in between-page unit that is delivered in a transitional space. This format can be used to deliver TV style ads, interactive game samples, and even product microsites between pages transitions. As with the other invasive online ads discussed herein, they offer the user the option of closing out of the ad if they so choose. The Superstitial is very similar to Eyeblaster’s Commercial Break format.