ALFY, JCPenney Target Kids, Parents

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ALFY.com, New York, a Web portal for children, will launch its first direct mail campaign in January in conjunction with JCPenney.


The campaign, which will target more than 1 million children and families of the 2 million who are registered members of the Photography by JCPenney Birthday program, is scheduled to run for six months. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the portal among children and their parents while driving them to the site and, in turn, to get them to JCPenney locations to have their portraits taken.


The site was officially launched in late summer and was accompanied by a TV, print and online campaign. But according to Robyn Kerner, vice president of marketing at ALFY.com, the company thought it needed to build a stronger brand name before launching a costly direct mail campaign.


"Direct mail is a very cost-intensive program and we felt that prior to this point that we weren't ready to do that yet," Kerner said. "It was important for us to build the brand before undertaking this type of campaign. And with TV spots running in eight different cities, print ads in various parenting and kids magazines along with online advertising, we felt we had finally done that."


ALFY will be able to check the effectiveness of the campaign since it has created a special URL that only children receiving the piece will be able to access or even know about. That area, which is at www.ALFY.com/birthday, will include birthday-themed games and activities.


The piece includes a personalized happy birthday message, pictures of ALFY that children can color and cut out, the ALFY.com Web address, JCPenney store locations and information and pricing on JCPenney portraits. It also informs children that they can receive a free, temporary tattoo when they get pictures taken at JCPenney.


"We do not have any plans to build a database of the kids who respond to the e-mail, come to our site or even register at our site and then continue to contact them with follow-up e-mails or other mailings," Kerner said. "Our goal is to build a compelling and entertaining enough site that kids will just want to keep coming back."


The only group ALFY will contact through e-mail campaigns are teachers who participate on the site and recommend it to students and parents.


ALFY.com is a Web portal targeted at children between the ages of 3 and 10. Since its launch, it has received an average of 250,000 visitors a month who spend an average of 25 minutes and a minimum of eight page views while at the site.
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