Paradigm Interactive Wins Internet Work for Crutchfield

Beginning with interactive banners targeting men who like cars, music and do-it-yourself work, Paradigm Interactive, Atlanta, will attempt to help cataloger/Internet retailer Crutchfield, Charlottesville, VA, find new customers and prospects.

Crutchfield's Web site and catalog — which sells car audio, home audio, video and home-theater products — has particularly strong appeal to men ages 18 to 35 who have above-average incomes, said Larry Weissman, president of Paradigm Interactive. To attract consumers to its product line, particularly its array of car stereo products and accessories, the company probably will look to sites such as Music Boulevard, Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics.

“Even if you're not a music lover, but you're what we call a motor head and you love your car, you'd be interested in equipping it with a good sound system. This should also appeal to do-it-yourselfers,” Weissman said.

Banners ads are only part of the Internet advertising campaign that Crutchfield has hired Paradigm to create for its 2 1/2-year-old Web site.

“Of course, there will always be banner ads, but we don't want to think of this as a banner campaign,” said Robin Lebo, director of customer acquisition at Crutchfield. “Banners are sometimes just an interruption to Internet surfers. There are a lot of other ideas we want to try.”

Paradigm has begun testing e-mail advertising for the company. Early tests to prospects — such as members of e-mail services who have agreed to accept e-mail ads in exchange for free e-mail — has showed promise, Weissman said, noting that in accordance with Internet privacy regulations, the agency only sends e-mail to people who have signed onto opt-in lists.

Content sponsorships, or long-term deals of possibly a year in length for Crutchfield to sponsor pieces of information on an Internet site, also are being considered.

Meanwhile, Paradigm will continue to explore placing banners on sites other than those for do-it-yourselfers and car and music enthusiasts, using tests with Internet networks such as Flycast that allow companies to do a blind buy. In a blind buy, banner ads are placed on all the network's sites. Within a week, the agency usually can see which sites are performing particularly well.

“It's a way of finding sites outside of the areas we have already identified,” Weissman said.

Initially, Crutchfield will design its own banner advertising so it can maintain a consistent image with the rest of its advertising, relying on Paradigm for placement. Later on, however, banners may include complicated technology that would involve Paradigm in the creation process. Possible future banner ads may incorporate Enliven technology, created by Narrative, Waltham, MA, that allows customers to order a catalog straight from a banner without sending them to another site and causing them to have to back track to what they were reading.

The Stores section of the Crutchfield Web site includes co-branded subsections such as Crutchfield's Bose Store and Crutchfield's Sony Store, in which a customer can search all of the products of a particular brand available through Crutchfield. To complement that, co-branded banners that would connect a customer directly to the brand's subsection of the Crutchfield site also are being considered.

Similarly, a banner that allows customers to input their car make and model may be created to lead customers to a section in the Web site that lists sound system products according to the makes and models of the cars they are available for.

Although Crutchfield's Web site has been up for a while, Lebo said it was mainly in the past year and a half that it began adding special features to differentiate it from the catalog. She would not reveal the revenues generated by the site, but noted that the Internet business was substantial enough for the company to decide to invest in an advertising campaign.

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