White Castle Plans Search Engine Drive

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Burger chain White Castle Management named Optiem LLC, Cleveland, to handle search engine marketing to drive traffic to its Web site.

A cold-call pitch to White Castle, Columbus, OH, won the account for Optiem. There was no incumbent, as White Castle previously had not engaged in search engine marketing.

"Really, the challenge is to raise awareness of the White Castle brand," said Clyde Miles, executive vice president of business development at Optiem.

The agency handles listing creation, monthly bid maintenance and monthly listing performance reporting. A specialist in e-mail marketing, Web development and customer relationship management, Optiem clients include Moen, Avery Dennison, Targus, Sherwin-Williams, IMG, Dirt Devil and The Cleveland Zoo.

Optiem will develop a list of keywords and phrases relating to White Castle's 2003 Crave Time Cook-Off, where consumers submit recipes based on the chain's products. This is the foundation of White Castle's pay-per-click listings.

Miles would not disclose the keywords for proprietary reasons, but said they were bought on Overture and Google. These pay-per-click search listing networks distribute sponsored listings to almost all major search engines, including Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Ask Jeeves, Lycos and InfoSpace.

All searches will lead to www.whitecastle.com, the online home of the 81-year-old brand with 366 restaurants in 11 states.


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