A Page Six for the Personal Finance Set

Media Morph: MainStreet

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: MainStreet.

WHAT IT IS: Called by one analyst "a Page Six for personal finance," MainStreet is an offshoot of TheStreet.com that launched Feb. 11.
The website is designed to attract a broader audience by using stories that open with a celebrity-news hook and then describe how the news relates to a financial issue. "It's geared toward the everyday consumer, an audience of 25 to 49, really smart, pop-culture-savvy folks who would be bored reading a traditional finance publication," said Caroline Waxler, general manager and managing editor of MainStreet. "It's free personal-finance information with a different editorial twist that links to celebrity news."

HOW IT WORKS: An example of the format would be a lead about how New York Giants star Michael Strahan is considering retirement on a story that talks about the importance of retirement planning. "This is a way to take interesting news that leads the topic off, then [takes] the consumer down the road," said Steve Elkes, TheStreet's chief financial officer and exec VP-mergers and acquisitions. "We sugarcoat it so the medicine tastes good."

The site is divided into four sections, each topic designed to focus on personal-finance milestones: beginnings (births, weddings), endings (deaths), windfalls (winning the lottery!) and challenges (illnesses, natural disasters).

THE AD ANGLE: The site hopes to expand TheStreet's cadre of advertisers -- think a diaper company advertising around content that explains what to expect financially when you're expecting. Plus, having TheStreet as a big sibling helped supply MainStreet with a built-in network of interested advertisers looking to market other products more suitable for a general audience. While an auto company might advertise a luxury car on TheStreet, it could push a family vehicle on MainStreet.
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