MySimon Tries Character-Building Campaign

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MySimon.com, a comparison-shopping network, plans to blanket the television networks with commercials featuring its "Simon" character during the holidays.


The hope is that by engaging consumers with live-action and computer-generated animation spots, they will pay attention and learn about the benefits of comparison shopping on the Web.


"We're making a significant investment in offline as well as online advertising," said Cary Rosenzweig, vice president of marketing at MySimon.com, Santa Clara, CA. "Awareness of comparison shopping is still relatively low to online shoppers. We have a classic marketing opportunity to raise awareness and stimulate trial."


The spots will appear on national cable as well as network television beginning next month. MySimon will likely extend the campaign next year into print in the first quarter and radio and outdoor by the second quarter. However, for the holidays, "we want to focus on a visual orientation," Rosenzweig said. "We have a character named Simon who is going to play a very prominent role in the television advertising to explain what we do in an engaging and persuasive way."


While the site depends on Simon to draw new users, it is relying on online promotions and special features to retain the old.


One such effort will be the introduction of user reviews. To encourage visitors to get more involved, MySimon will offer two biweekly prizes of $50 for users who write reviews. A grand prize of $5,000 will be given away near Thanksgiving and again in the middle of December.


MySimon added reviews because it "improves the site offering, because it helps you as a customer make a more informed decision," said Adam Taggart, director of customer loyalty at MySimon.com. "I'm interested in providing users with the most relevant services possible ... incentives for the customer to come back, promotions, sweepstakes and special offers."


Other additions to keep consumers coming back have been the introduction of MySimon Radio, a Great Deals section and a calendar section.


MySimon Radio allows consumers to listen to music while shopping. If they like what they hear, they can click on "buy" to compare prices. Great Deals are a collection of sales and special offers from some of the site's merchant partners. The calendar includes a "wish list," where consumers can, for example, "remind me that Uncle Joe wants a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey for his birthday on this date," Taggart said.


The site also will unveil a large banner ad buy, new co-branding efforts and an e-mail campaign for the holiday season. Details were not immediately available.
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