Bride's and WeddingChannel.com Marry, Hope to Create E-Prospecting Gold Mine

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Bride's Magazine and Internet company WeddingChannel.com have struck a cross-marketing deal to offer advertisers multimedia access to product- and service-hungry newlyweds and couples-to-be.


The agreement comes on the heels of the magazine's early January launch in Chicago of Bride's On Location, a 20-city bridal fair. It is also part of a two-and-a-half-year effort to diversify Bride's ad base and find new ways to give marketers access to its readership.


"There is now fundamentally no venue of contact that Bride's can't offer the marketer to reach the consumer," said Deborah Fine, publisher of Bride's.


Under the deal, WeddingChannel.com (www.weddingchannel.com and AOL keyword weddingchannel) has added a Bride's-branded content area to its Web site offering Bride's On Location information and chances to enter contests and sweepstakes. Beginning this month, the site will also offer customized planning calendars and an e-mail reminder service for the bride and groom, and friends and family.


Also, WeddingChannel.com is Brides On Location's exclusive sponsor while Bride's advertisers get access to the brides-to-be registered at the Web site.


WeddingChannel.com claims its database of brides-to-be is "in the tens of thousands" and predicts it will double within six months as a result of its deal with Bride's, a bimonthly magazine of Conde Nast Publications Inc., New York.


Bride's also plans use its pages to drive promotional traffic to WeddingChannel.com. "We're looking to grow this relationship exponentially across the board," said Fine.


WeddingChannel.com claims it gets some 9,000 unique visitors per day and serves between four million and five million page views per month.


"We've got an extremely involved and information-hungry consumer," said Diana Meltzer, director of marketing at WeddingChannel.com, Los Angeles.


More importantly for marketers, they are as ready to spend money as they will ever be.


"Never before in a woman's life, and never again is she going to be worth this much money to a marketer. There is no price resistance and she is completely open to new brands," said Fine, adding that Conde Nast's internal tag line for Bride's is "Where Love Meets Money."


And though the average engagement lasts 14 months, the opportunities for marketers don't stop on the day of the wedding, said Meltzer. For instance, most couples buy a home within two years of getting married, creating a slew of new marketing opportunities.


As a result, WeddingChannel.com is aiming for long-term relationships by offering couples services like Our Wedding, which allows them to set up personal home pages.


"As people begin to take advantage of the Our Wedding feature, it becomes a community for them to communicate with all their friends and family," said Meltzer. "Today, it will be directions to the wedding and the reception. Down the road, there will be announcements about having babies and buying houses."


Meanwhile, fueled by a 5,000-piece mail campaign to its advertisers in November, Bride's just broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the second year in a row as the world's largest consumer magazine with the most advertising pages ever published.


Bride's packed 1,065 pages of advertising into its February/March issue, well in excess of the magazine's more typical ad page count of 400 to 500. The issue had a total of 1,242 pages -- a 126-page increase over last year's record breaker -- and weighed 4.5 pounds.


Advertisers in Bride's include companies in the "tabletop" market, comprising china, flatware, crystal and housewares, as well as businesses in bridal fashion, honeymoon travel and other firms like telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. and electronics company Sony Corp.
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