There are a lot of things $1 million can purchase a brand. But an ad premiering with Apple’s new iAd platform may not be among them.

Apple has reportedly sold $60 million worth of mobile advertising inventory for the launch of its new ad platform iAd, but according to AdAge, marketers jumping to get aboard may have a lot of waiting to do.

Steve Jobs’ boasts that Apple would handle 48% of mobile advertising in the second half of 2010 appear to have worked on many large brands.

Apple’s iAd platform is set to launch on Thursday and companies are paying upwards of $1 million to have their ads appear on the company’s mobile products. According to AdAge, exclusivity deals in a vertical like automotive costs over $10 million. (Deals that Nissan and Citibank likely forked over for, as they’re the only brands in their respective categories at launch.)

Apple’s notoriously independent streak is part of the problem. Writes AdAge:

“Part of the issue is with Apple itself: The company is handling all the
technical production of iAds, and telling agencies it will take six to
eight weeks to produce an ad after the creative is produced.”

And the iPad may be the most appealing of Apple’s mobile devices, but iAds may not debut there until November.

However, it is interesting that despite these caveats, advertisers seem to be falling over themselves to jump aboard.

It sounds like much of Steve Jobs’ boasting about iAds capabilities worked, at least with advertisers.

Apple’s impressive $60 million is not composed of existing mobile ad budgets that brands are shifting to the company. AdAge reports that brands are taking money from their budgets devoted to digital, TV advertising and
even PR. Why the new focus on mobile? Because brands think Apple will be able to deliver something that hasn’t been seen before. 

There is reason to be concerned that mobile advertising will turn into another ad format that is easily ignored. According to a study recently released by Ball State University, most college students are annoyed by the mobile ads they receive. If mobile advertising mimicks digital, ad blindness is likely to follow.

But Apple is promising to deliver something else. And even if Steve Jobs can’t completely rehabilitate digital advertising, brands are hoping that some of the Apple sheen will wear off them:

“Any brand that does it is instantly aligned with Apple,” Darrell
Whitelaw, creative director of mobile shop MIR, which is designing
Citi’s iAd, told AdAge. “It’s instant credibility, instant cool. You’re on the new
iPhone 4; it really is the one way you can align yourself with that
little Apple logo.”

Image: AdAge