Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Advertisers Need Patience To Tap Into Web's Potential

February 24, 2009: from Boston.com -- Marketers used to spend the bulk of their money on TV ads, which ran for a few weeks or months at a time. But these days, because of the Web, the shelf life on ads is infinite.

As the Web changes ways of doing business, said Alicia Arnold, vice president of account management at Molecular, a Boston digital agency overseeing the effort, advertisers including Reebok are asking: "How can we move away from buying media time and toward creating time" between us and our customers?

Since April 2007, Reebok International of Canton has hosted Run Easy, a website (www.goruneasy.com) that lets runners map out their favorite routes, post iTunes playlists, join jogging-related discussion groups, and upload photos. The site snared more than 1.61 million unique visitors between its launch and mid-December 2008; in comparison, the first season of "Damages" on FX reached an average of about 2 million people on days it aired, according to Nielsen Media Research.

A broader Run Easy ad campaign involving TV helped start the venture, but the Web effort has largely sustained itself through user-generated activity. To get the most out of Super Bowl ads - and presumably other campaigns that require significant investment - advertisers need to "blend social media, traditional media, and buzz around the watercooler," said Jim Nail, chief marketing officer of TNS Cymfony.

Reebok has reasons for continuing to operate the Run Easy site, other than giving people a virtual place to congregate, said Rich Prenderville, head of global brand marketing at the athletic gear concern. The company believed consumers had become daunted by ads that told them "you have to do this, you have to do that" in order to be a runner, he said. On Run Easy, they can learn and progress at their own pace, gathering support and information from other users.

Now that Reebok has built a community, he said, why take it down? "We started a community and we have started people talking about something, and if we just turned the lights off on it, I think we'd do them a disservice.

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=sv45jycab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fdyece6&id=preview

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