Urbanfetch Puts Urban Spin on Grassroots Campaign

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Urbanfetch.com, a Web-based delivery service in New York, is waging a grassroots marketing campaign that reaches folks at the gym, in the subways and at Knicks games.

The Web site, which provides free delivery of movies, bagels, electronics and other items in less than an hour, has trashed traditional television and radio advertising after testing it in the fourth quarter. Instead it is going local by forming partnerships with key New York venues.

"The benefit of being such a localized service is that we can concentrate on extremely localized advertising," said Urbanfetch CEO Ross Stevens. "We're not going to compete with the other dot-coms for the ever-more-expensive and shrinking traditional advertising inventory. We're focusing on strategic relationships with venues rather than traditional television, print or radio."

The site has formed strategic relationships with Chelsea Piers, one of New York's largest gyms and entertainment centers, Madison Square Garden and the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

It has signage throughout the 30-acre Chelsea Piers and facility and an Urbanfetch kiosk at its driving range. Golfers, who often wait more than one hour to tee up, can sample the site using the kiosk. Next week all 50,000 golf balls used at the range will feature the site's logo. A billboard will also be placed outside the building this month.

Urbanfetch replaced McDonald's as the sponsor of the Knicks' halftime's Super Shot contest where a fan can win a jeep for sinking a number of baskets. Urbanfetch is pursuing a larger sponsorship deal with Madison Square Garden.

In the first quarter, the site will begin advertising on MTA Metrocards, which are used to pay fares on city subways and buses. It also has a 10-second spot during Moviefone, an automated telephone service for locating movie show times and locations.

For the release of the movie "Stuart Little," Inside Films, London, introduced a playbill-type marketing piece, more commonly found at Broadway performances. Urbanfetch has sponsored the several hundred thousand pieces that will be handed out at theaters throughout New York.

"We wanted to have a non-intrusive marketing campaign that reached people when they were taking a break form their hectic demanding lives," said Stevens. "We want them to think of Urbanfetch as another tool to alleviate their stress."

The strategy appears to be working as the site added more than 10,000 new customers and generated $1.5 million in revenue last month. The revenue is up 300 percent since November.

While the site plans to expand nationally and internationally, it has no plans to begin traditional advertising. It will instead stick to its localized efforts, according to Stevens.

Its advertising being handled Shepardson Stern Kaminsky, New York.

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