Zippo sees spark from banner ads

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Lighter manufacturer Zippo has more than doubled its online advertising budget this year, looking to expand its Web presence and target a younger audi­ence — males age 21 to 34.

A new banner ad campaign breaking this week is meant to be a large push in that area. The ads will be placed on sites including eBay, CareerBuilder.com, MLB.com and AutoTrader.com. The tops of these ads appear to be for fictional com­panies. This part is static at first, but eventually reacts animatedly to a Zippo flame below. In one, for example, dancers advertising a dance school get hot feet.

“Zippo saw some good results from its holiday pushes online and started think­ing that the Internet should be part of its year-long program instead of just being used in sporadic pushes,” said Jay Giesen, executive creative director at Brunner, Zippo's agency of record.

The ads are meant to be “mischievous and fun in a way that a younger group of men would take notice of,” he explained, adding that the brand's identity and core positioning points, especially individuality, are kept “front and center while still driv­ing sales online and for retailers.”

The hope is that consumers will look for a local store carrying Zippo lighters or click through to the Zippo Web site.

Zippo tested the concept earlier this year with good results. Online orders increased 49.48% and sales volume was up 38.19% during the test.

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