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MARKETER: Salon, San Francisco


CRITIQUE: First of all, we would like to say that we were on Rob Brezny's Real Astrology site looking for banner ads, not delightfully written horoscopes. Really.

But were we to consult the stars as far as Salon is concerned, we would find them in a far more favorable position than its recent initial stock offering would indicate.

Salon has great content. A good portion of the literate Internet population is aware of this, and for many it's the only online zine they read daily.

The banners, as well as print ads, running at the moment drive this point in an unusual way. Many publishing sites advertise. Some promote specific features within their sites. But Salon is driving readers right to individual, non-news stories.

The ad copy asks questions such as, "Is Will Smith the Tom Hanks of rap?" and takes you to Salon to find the answer.

It's an inexpensive, timely way to drive traffic. By pointing people right to the articles, it drills home just how good those articles really are.

Salon's out-of-the-box thinking (in terms of its Dutch-auction IPO) can't claim a 100% success rate, but this well-executed campaign portends more eyes and more ad dollars for this site with a controversial approach and content.

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