Smartmoney.com adds to winning debut campaign

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Smartmoney.com hopes to build on the momentum of its successful first campaign last November with a new effort.

The campaign, from DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, will break in mid-March. The effort will include TV, print, radio, out-of-home and interactive ads. Print will break in April issues of magazines, including Fast Company, Newsweek and Wired, as well as in newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily; TV spots will air on cable outlets such as CNN Headline News and CNNfn, with radio spots on Bloomberg Radio, CBS and ABC.

Smartmoney.com's first ad effort helped site traffic grow from a monthly average of 16 million monthly page views to 62 million in December alone. Advertising revenue rose from $75,000 in the first half to $2.5 million in the fourth quarter.

"We were basically nowhere before this [advertising] started, and we're in there now," said Chris Lambiase, senior VP-publishing director of Smart Money, the site's parent.

The new ads continue the tagline "You're ready," introduced in the fall. Print and online ads use lines such as "You pray facing Wall Street" and "Last Halloween, you went as a recession."

At least one ad will focus on the March release of Map Station, a software suite that generates a personalized version of the site's Map of the Market feature. The program generates a screen that shows the performance of all a portfolio's sectors and stocks, just as Map of the Market does for the stock exchange.

The company initially had budgeted $15 million for marketing efforts through 2000, but that figure may grow and the media plan may expand, based on the success of the first campaign, Mr. Lambiase said.

ONLINE SINCE 1997

SmartMoney.com first went online in 1997 as Smart Money Interactive, an offshoot of Smart Money. It changed its name in July 1998 and was relaunched in July 1999 after a redesign that added new tools and features. The site is free to users and gets its revenue from banner advertising and from licensing its technology and content to other financial Web sites.

The ads' benefits have spilled over to the magazine as well, Mr. Lambiase said. He noted subscription sales on the site grew from 900 in October 1999, before the ad campaign broke, to 3,000 in January.

"It's definitely had a halo effect. It is creating an overall awareness," he said.

One of Smartmoney.com's key competitors, Forbes.com, also broke new ads this month. The new effort, from Merkley Newman Harty, New York, broke Feb. 21 in six key markets -- Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington -- and will expand in the coming months into national publications.

The Forbes.com campaign includes radio spots, outdoor ads in New York's Silicon Alley and California's Silicon Valley and print ads in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Print ads feature the lines, "Capitalism served fresh daily" and "Imagine being able to say `Give or take 10 billion.' "

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