NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Struggling social network MySpace is gearing up for a relaunch of the site later this year, and as part of that it has begun canvassing adland for an agency to devise a major branding campaign.
Industry executives say the News Corp.-owned company recently put out a request for proposals to several creative shops, asking them to help MySpace get the word out about the relaunch, which will include new features to be introduced in stages starting this summer and a revamped site and logo in the fall.
Overseeing the marketing effort is newly hired Senior VP-Marketing David Donegan, who joined the company in May from Santa Monica, Calif., agency Kastner & Partners Interactive, where he headed accounts for Red Bull and Qualcomm. Consultancy Select Resources International is assisting in the search.
MySpace hasn't done much consumer marketing. Most of its 2009 media spending -- only $5.1 million in U.S. measured media, according to Kantar Media -- was geared toward the launch of MySpace Music, including a billboard in Times Square.
A MySpace spokesperson said it's too early to say how much MySpace will end up spending on the campaign, and whether it will include TV as well as online media. "This would be our first big branding campaign," the spokesperson said.
MySpace has a lot riding on the relaunch and branding campaign, and it will be a tall order for the agency selected for the task. One need look only as far as AOL's efforts to find a buyer for Bebo, another troubled social network flattened in the path of Facebook, which just crossed a half billion registered users around the globe.
Global unique visitors to MySpace have fallen from 127 million in April of 2009 to 111 million in April 2010, according to ComScore. Global visits to Facebook grew from 307 million to 519 million during the same period.
MySpace itself admitted the task is "risky" just last month at a TechCrunch conference, because the redo will entail a massive overhaul of MySpace's core functionality. New products will include tools to enable discovery of content, trending and targeting products, dashboards for musicians and a better understanding of mobile as the remote control of young people's lives.
Also likely to be targeted with the relaunch? Gamers. The company has said that a third of its users engage daily in games with some 28 million active app users on the site.