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Creative campaigns from USA Today, CarGurus and Foundation for Jewish Camp

USA Today
Online chatter used for banner ads

To mark its 25th anniversary, USA Today launched a trade print campaign last fall reflecting its original mission of try­ing to capture the conversation of the nation. The media company wanted to bring similar messaging to consumers and extend the effort online in order to highlight that visi­tors to its Web site can now comment on news stories.

“We’ve always wanted to reflect what the country is talking about,” says Susan Lavington, SVP of marketing at USA Today. “A lot of other media companies are now real­izing that they need to be more reflective of their readers.”

The online campaign, which launched in March, takes actual readers’ comments about popular sports, lifestyle and news content — the most heavily read areas on the USA Today site — and features them in banner ads, text links and e-mails.

Arnold Worldwide worked on the trade campaign, devised the creative concept for the consumer push and did the media planning. The creative was done in-house.

The media buy includes online ad networks, Internet portals, social networks and entertainment and lifestyle Web sites, making this USA Today‘s biggest online cam­paign “in a long, long time,” Lavington says.

USA Today‘s goal was to drive Web site audience levels during the first half of the year so it could sell advertising against those numbers in the second half.

According to Nielsen, unique visitors to USA Today‘s Web site are up 13%. –Chantal Todé

Car culture

Approach: Online automotive community CarGurus launched a Facebook applica­tion in January as a way to engage and educate a younger demographic. Car IQ users can participate in quizzes, become “fans” of certain cars and read automotive news.

Results: Over 600,000 Facebook users have downloaded the application and over 250,000 unique users are active every month. –Mary Hurn

Foundation for Jewish Camp
E-mails help families find camp grants

Approach: Hoping to raise awareness this year of the availability of grants for Jewish summer camp, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Los Angeles Jewish Federation and agency Big Imagination Group created a new look for the initiative, including a Web site and e-mail gift certificates. Targeted audiences included eligible families, synagogues, summer camps and Jewish federations.

Results: Even before summer had begun, 1,300 applications were received and nearly $2 million in grants confirmed. –Nathan Golia

Tim Moore, VP, creative director, Draftfcb

If you’re a car junkie, a heavy blog­ger or a parent with kids ready to go to Jewish summer camp, you might be interested in any one of the fol­lowing three campaigns.

USA Today used a series of Web banners that attempt to intrigue you with a current hot topic. The design of the banners is as expected: clean and easy to understand with a ripped-from-the-headlines look.

The next, from Car Gurus is an automotive Facebook application that entertains through trivia. It’s fairly robust and easy to navigate, with many engaging activities. The design and messaging are simple but relevant to their purpose. Seems like fun — possibly addictive if you and your friends know a lot about cars.

Finally the awareness e-mail about a gift certificate parents can use to send their children to camp, from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, could have had a stronger offer. The layout is fairly busy — multiple photo and illustrative images — but still comes across positively, inform­ing parents of what looks like a nice place to send the kids to camp.

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