DEJA.COM COMES OF AGE WITH 1ST TV CAMPAIGN: MASS-MARKET PITCH DESCRIBES EVOLVED BUSINESS

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Consider today Deja.-com's coming-out party. The online forum for product recommendations breaks its first TV spots, created by DiNoto/Lee, New York, to show consumers it has come of age.

The company launched a print, radio and online campaign in May to promote its transition from Deja News to Deja.com, a site that lets consumers rank everything from cars to colleges to electronics.

Now 6 months old and ripe with product and service recommendations submitted by consumers, Deja.com will advertise itself via TV as a significant and reliable resource for shoppers. The site boasts nearly 700,000 consumer ratings and reviews, up from 35,000 at launch. More than 12,000 products and services are rated; only 2,000 items were rated at launch, according to the company.

TV 'THE RIGHT MEDIUM'

Moving to TV, the final component in its estimated $12 million ad budget, parallels the track of its evolved business model, said CEO Tom Phillips.

"In terms of media and creative, it's all been a natural evolution," Mr. Phillips said. "Our initial pitch was to recast our orientation around shared product information. Now we are taking the same sense of humor and creativity (portrayed in earlier print and radio ads) and extending that and the medium to help consumers be smarter buyers. Our site and media campaign have developed into a mass pitch. And TV is the right medium for that."

"They have undergone this dramatic repositioning from something more grass-roots and discussion-oriented to a service that's going to be compatible with commerce," said Anya Sacharow, an analyst with Jupiter Communications. "And anytime you reposition something so radically, you risk losing users who are not in sync with the new positioning."

The TV spots, which debut today, will run on cable and NBC. In May, Deja.com secured $25 million in financing, including $3 million in network time from NBC. Part of that $3 million will be used this quarter for TV spots. The rest will be used in TV advertising sometime next year, Mr. Phillips said.

"The key message is this is the place to go to become a smarter consumer," he said. "There is a lot of consumer confusion out there. People who want to buy on the Web need trusted sources where they can do that."

The humorous ads portray two kinds of consumers: those who fear getting bad product information from commercial sources and those who relish the thrill of hunting for the best product or service. Deja.com aims to serve both types of consumers, Mr. Phillips said.

The tagline is "Deja.com. Before you buy."

ECHOING SHOPPERS' AGENDAS

"The ads are really designed to echo a shopper's agenda," said Greg DiNoto, partner-creative director at DiNoto/Lee.

The fourth quarter, as it is for other dot-coms, is an important time in which Deja.com should launch its TV ads, he added.

"It's clearly the biggest e-commerce quarter of the year. The most fertile time to try to get consumers to become smarter consumers is when they are buying," Mr. Phillips said.

Once it helps consumers decide what to buy, Deja.com also assists them in buying products by linking them to MySimon, a comparison shopping search engine, or directly to online merchants including Amazon.com, eBay, 800.com and Value America.

Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to shopping online, and standard shopping sites continue to attract more people: In September, 1.9 million unique users visited Deja.com, according to Media Metrix. In comparison, 2 million visited Beyond.com, 2.2 million visited Buy.com, 9.4 million visited America Online's shopping channel, 9.9 million visited eBay and 11.2 million visited

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