Overture Name Campaign Stresses Business as Usual

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Levitating photo cubes and talking picture frames were among the creative Overture Services Inc. used to tell companies that except for its name change from GoTo.com, it is business as usual at the pay-for-performance search engine.

The direct mail and e-mail campaign concludes this week after targeting 300,000 executives and advertising account managers at advertisers, affiliates and prospects.

"We want to inform and assure our current partners that while our name has changed, nothing else about the company has," said Lisa Morita, senior vice president and general manager of online business and marketing at Overture, Pasadena, CA. "As for the prospects, the goal is to educate them about us by getting them back to the site or call an 800 number. We hope to generate new business out of that."

The campaign cost around $1 million, Morita said, including print ads that will run in various trade publications over the next several months, though she wouldn't break down the cost of the various components.

In keeping with the tradition started when the company was GoTo.com, Overture used two attention-grabbing collateral pieces to reach 22,000 executives at its best advertisers and affiliates. One piece was a device shaped like a microscope that uses magnets to levitate a photo cube. The other is a picture frame that talks about the name change when the recipient pushes a button.

"Trying to do more than just break through the clutter, we wanted to give them something that would have a lot of desktop staying power," she said. "We wanted it to be something that had the likelihood of sticking around for a while."

Morita would not discuss the split of the two pieces but said the recipients of each were determined by the amount of business done with the advertiser or affiliate.

She also said that Overture was not worried about scaring people by sending them large, unexpected packages in light of the current concern over biological terror attacks. The boxes contained the original GoTo.com name, she said, and most recipients knew about the name change through an e-mail, "so they should recognize the name."

Each of the 22,000 mailings included a brochure and personalized cover letter discussing the name change. The letter also briefly addressed last month's terrorist attacks.

"Obviously, planning for this campaign took place way before the attacks ever took place," she said. "But since we were going to be running a campaign a little less than a month after, and it affected everyone, we felt we had to make mention of it and acknowledge it."

Another drop of 160,000 direct mail pieces including the brochure begins this week targeting prospects at medium- to large-sized businesses. Morita said Overture's sales force identified the prospects as "high-opportunity categories." This effort aims to generate business by driving them to a Web site or having them call a toll-free number.

More than 150,000 e-mails went last week to advertisers, affiliates and prospects, directing them to a site created for the campaign -- www.introduction.overture.com.

There was some crossover among recipients of the e-mail and direct mail campaigns, but Morita would not say how much.

McCann Relationship Marketing, Los Angeles, developed the direct marketing and print advertising campaigns for Overture.

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