Nordstrom-Owned HauteLook Launches TV Campaign

Flash-Sale Site Looks to Elevate Brand, Score New Subscribers

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HauteLook is becoming the latest online player to use TV advertising to boost awareness and attract subscribers.

Like Groupon and LivingSocial before it, the flash-sale site is using mass media to define its brand to a broad audience.

The 4-year-old HauteLook, which competes with sites such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, is investing a seven-figure sum in 15- and 30-second spots to run on cable networks including E!, Bravo, HGTV, VH1 and BBC America. The spots will run for seven weeks and target 25- to 40-year-old women.

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"It's time to elevate, accelerate the brand," said Greg Bettinelli, senior VP-marketing at HauteLook, which was acquired by Nordstrom last year. "The reality is that to have 30 seconds to convey your story is much more effective, I would argue, than a display ad."

The ads, created by Stun Creative, a Los Angeles-based production company, feature a woman shopping on her laptop, tablet and phone, as her outfits and living room change to reflect her purchases from the site. "The promise of a new day and a new find? What could be better?" says a voice-over.

It's a simple, straightforward approach. "We purposely didn't go the humor route. We learned from others in the online space," Mr. Bettinelli said, in a nod to Groupon's 2011 Super Bowl gaffe. "We wanted to focus on HauteLook and what we're all about."

In order to measure the success of the campaign, Mr. Bettinelli said his team will be tracking a variety of metrics. The first will be the number of incremental new subscribers. He says the brand knows exactly when the spots are slated to run and will compare new sign-ups during those time periods against standard registration figures. Roughly 10,000 people sign up per day; the site already counts more than 7 million members.

Likewise, the brand will look at how the spots impact the level of activity of existing or dormant members. And, finally, HauteLook will measure things such as social-media conversation, media mentions and chatter among brand partners.

Nordstrom, which hasn't traditionally done much TV advertising, will also be watching closely, Mr. Bettinelli said. HauteLook operates independently, though Mr. Bettinelli acknowledged Nordstom's involvement has enabled the site to "make a larger bet, sooner" on something like TV advertising.

"[Nordstrom] has shown a little bit more interest in this than they have in some of our other campaigns," Mr. Bettinelli said. "We'll have the ability to share with them how television can impact an online business."

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