The new billboards: buggies

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[copenhagen] Most people who look at a baby carriage just see the baby, but two former Danish ad agency executives spotted a whole new place to advertise. In late May their outdoor-media company, Nytmedie, started giving Danish parents of newborns free use of a top-quality baby carriage if they agree to push it around Copenhagen with a corporate sponsor's logo on the buggy's side.

But with just 60,000 births a year, Denmark isn't a big enough market, so Nytmedie is already eyeing American babies and streets as well as other European countries.

"I was just in New York and I hope to enter New York City and its boroughs sometime next year," said Hans-Henrik Wegner, Nytmedie's CEO. He also plans to target California and is seeking a U.S. partner, he said. In Europe, Nytmedie is already looking at the U.K., Germany and the rest of Scandinavia.

Mr. Wegner, a former account director at local agency Ipsin & Parmmo, and Pia Bagge Bramsnaes, a former account director at Leo Burnett Sales Direct in Copenhagen, started Hillerod-based Nytmedie. Developing baby buggies as an ad medium is their first project.

So far advertisers include Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, Scandinavian finance group Nordea Bank and the TV Denmark channel. Advertisers pay a one-time fee of $750 per baby carriage, Mr. Wegner said. "Compared to other media in Denmark, [that] is cheap," he said.

Clients won't allow him to say how many baby carriages are being sponsored in Denmark, but Mr. Wegner said Nytmedie has not reached its target of 2,000 set in May.

Parents are easier to recruit.

"The parents stand in line," he said. "We've gotten thousands of e-mails and phone calls. The problem isn't getting parents, it's getting the sponsors."

different models

Participating parents choose the baby-carriage model they like on Nytmedie's Web site, where different models and styles are pictured. Carriages can be used for up to 21/2 years before being returned to Nytmedie. Parents who sign a sponsorship contract also become members of a club, authorizing release of their data to companies that supply baby products and services. In countries like the U.S. where babies move from carriages to strollers earlier, Nytmedie will offer strollers, too.

Matt Leible, director of out of home at Horizon, said he has never heard of ads on baby carriages, but that new concepts that seem strange at first, like ads on telephone kiosks and restroom ad panels, soon became mainstream.

"Why not a baby buggy?" he said. "I'm kind of blown away by it, but I shouldn't be. Someone will [advertise]. There are advertisers that would be no-brainers, like Pampers, or Johnson & Johnson, or future athletes sponsored by Nike."

"Traditional forms of outdoor advertising have lost much of their impact," Mr. Wegner said. "This is new. And it has high visibility."

In Denmark, the Save the Children charity gets a $12 donation for each sponsored pram.

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