First, it hired two direct-marketing veterans to lead its expansion. Now, it has tapped Bozell Worldwide, Seattle, to develop brand advertising to create awareness and drive traffic.
Bozell was selected "primarily because I have such good relationships with talented people there," said Bill Fritsch, exec VP-sales and marketing. "We're entrusting the brand to this organization."
He said the campaign currently is at the conceptual level and will likely be a mix of print and radio at the outset, with TV perhaps to follow.
"We've not yet established a budget," he said.
LURING AD VETERANS
FreeShop scooped up Mr. Fritsch and other ad veterans, Ron Christiansen and Jack Balousek, earlier this year. Mr. Christiansen is VP-sales, and Mr. Balousek sits on FreeShop's board.
Messrs. Fritsch and Christiansen were founding partners in relationship-marketing agency CF2GS, which was acquired in 1994 by True North Communications and became part of Bozell's Seattle office.
FreeShop also has signed up new advertisers, including Office Depot, Hanes hosiery and Avis Rent A Car System.
Launched three years ago to offer free and trial offers, as well as discounts on the Internet, FreeShop.com offers multitiered "packages" to marketers based on the number of impressions on the site.
Based on the major advertisers who've climbed on board in the last couple of months, including Johnson & Johnson and Walt Disney Co., Chairman Tim Choate said he is currently talking to a number of advertisers about a new level of sponsorship called Premiere Partners, which guarantees advertisers dominant