Ecampus chases college crowd via cinema spot

By Published on . heads to the movies the week of Dec. 13 with an ad campaign designed to reach students on holiday break.

The online college bookstore cut a deal with National Cinema Network to run a revised TV spot on 3,500 movie screens nationwide through Jan. 6.

"Our primary targets are students ages 18 to 24 and they are very hard to reach," said Philip Emmanuele, senior VP-chief marketing officer. "We think movies make a lot of sense. Students on Christmas break visit with friends, and movies are a good place to find them."


The cinema spot, created by DeVito/Verdi, New York, is a recut version of one of the six spots that first aired in the site's fall campaign. It's part of an estimated $25 million in first-year spending. The ad features two young women lying on the floor in their dorm room staring at a lava lamp while rock music plays in the background. The copy: "Getting college kids the intelligent literature they so desperately need."

The move deal is part of a bigger push by to reach college students as they head back to school. Another round of TV spots starts Dec. 25 and runs four weeks on cable TV including Comedy Central, MTV and VH1.

Radio follows Jan. 3 in top college markets; print ads will run in 250 college newspapers and on-site promotional efforts are planned at more than 50 college campuses.

Ecampus launched formally in mid-August, the same time its first ad campaign began.

The competition in the online textbook sales area is intense with Web sites including,, and also vying for students' attention.

Mr. Emmanuele said ecampus has an advantage over the others because the site offers more products and services.

Most competitors sell only textbooks and few buy used books, he said. buys and sells used books, non-textbooks, college-branded merchandise and dorm room decorations, he said.


Rivals, however, aren't sitting still. last week expanded its college offerings by entering a partnership with online grocer Peapod to sell $7.95 snack packs; if a student doesn't have money, efollett offers to e-mail parents suggesting they pay for the snacks.

Ecampus is part of a growing list of dot-coms that are using cinema advertising, said Laura Adler, NCN VP-marketing.

"As with all media, the dot-coms are up-and-comers," she said. "The top categories now are broadcast TV, auto, retail, telecom and now the dot-coms. They may even beat out some of those more established categories."

Part of the appeal to Internet companies is the uncluttered atmosphere in cinema. NCN, for example, only allows four pre-show spots per movie, Ms. Adler said. She said internal research shows those ads have an 80% recall rate.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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