Forbes.com Debuts Campaign To Boost Consumer Web Traffic

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Forbes.com has embarked on its first consumer-oriented marketing campaign to drive traffic to its Web site, investing close to $10 million in online and offline advertising including possible spots on television or in national newspapers.


The campaign is aimed at a young, entrepreneurial audience with the tagline "it's a new game." The schedule will consist of banner, print, radio and outdoor ads giving a message which is intended to be funny and ironic. It is targeting those 25 to 40 years old with household incomes of $50,000 or more.


Forbes Inc., New York, aims to double its online readership from 3 million "unique readers" per month to 6 million, but would not say what number of new readers must be acquired to make the campaign profitable. It will monitor responses to ads every two weeks. Currently the effort is a branding campaign, but may include call-to-action banner ads at a future date. Forbes was unable to provide details at press time.


Print ads will run in business magazines such as Business 2.0, Fast Company, Internet Week, Red Herring, Upside and Advertising Age. Placements began two weeks ago and will run until the end of the year.


It will also use Wired magazine and possibly the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the San Jose Mercury News, depending on whether it runs television ads - which is still to be decided - according to Bruce Rogers, vice president of marketing.


The creative features a single photo underscored with a bold caption. One of the ads pictures a 20-something female CEO, at an "eye twitching, aorta bursting, deal clinching power breakfast." Another features a young "college quitting, credit card maxing, $23 million, stock option owning retiree" in a tee shirt.


Banner ads will have similar creatives to the print campaign, appearing on popular portals and targeted sites, and will feature a quiz that takes respondents to the Forbes.com site. The first ads should appear this summer, even though exact creatives and destinations have not yet been agreed upon.


The radio advertising, which starts this month in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Boston, will parody '70's era public service announcements.


A voice-over will recommend Forbes.com as the answer to the "problem" of the digital age. At one point the voice says, "if you're a parent who's seen your child's net worth skyrocket far beyond your own, or a kid who finds the idea of becoming a CEO irresistible, please, click on Forbes.com. We'll provide uncompromising views and opinions you're bound to find comforting."


Radio ads will be broadcast on a host of different stations "from classical music stations, to news to jazz to blues to rock," Rogers said.


It is sponsoring a "Millennium Bug Hunt" feature on the WWJ-AM station in Detroit, which highlights Web sites and Y2K questions, as well as sponsoring news on rock station WZGC-FM in Atlanta and the "Channel Guide" of the classic rock station KCBS in Los Angeles. It will back all the news, weather and traffic reports of radio stations in Seattle, and will sponsor two technology reports per week on New York's WQCD-FM jazz station.
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