Women.com eyes 6 shops for acc't

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Women.com Networks wants more women to come on over.

The online women's community is seeking an ad agency to take that invitation to consumers with an estimated $15 million branding campaign.

The company has narrowed its list of contenders to six shops: CKS Group, Cupertino, Calif., and San Francisco-based shops Citron Haligman Bedecarre, DDB Needham Worldwide, Goldberg Moser O'Neill, Saatchi & Saatchi and Y&R Advertising.

The branding push, which would include TV, radio, print and outdoor, comes as Women.com continues to position itself as the pre-eminent source of information for women surfing the Web.

``We are looking now for an agency to [guide] our overall strategy of continuing to build Women.com among female consumers, including those who may be new to the Web,'' said Fran Maier, senior VP-marketing and business development. ``The women we are targeting have many different interests - that is the No. 1 thing I am looking for [in an agency], a real appreciation for women and what women have achieved.''

Women.com's former agency for project work was the San Francisco office of New York-based Hampel/Steph-

anides, a unit of Envoy Communications Group. Modem Media-Poppe Tyson, Stamford, Conn., will remain Women.com's interactive agency.


The tagline running on the Women.com site and on some banners on other sites is ``The smart way to get things done.'' Any new offline campaign may or may not carry the same tagline, but its theme should align with that concept, Ms. Maier said.

``Ultimately, the offline and online campaigns will share many of the same elements. We need to have a cohesive brand strategy,'' she said.

Last month, Hearst HomeArts.com, a separate online women's community owned by Hearst Corp., bought a 50% stake in Women.com. CKS previously handled HomeArts.com's offline advertising.

The joint venture gave Women.com distribution rights for the Hearst women's magazine sites, promotion in Hearst's women's magazines and on-air promotion from Hearst's TV properties and interests.


Women.com will leverage access to those sites and publications in its campaign, Ms. Maier said.

``Hearst gives us access to its magazines for advertising, plus it gives prospective customers access to the Women.com name,'' she said. ``For Women.com, cross-promotion on those magazines is very exciting. It will be consistent, prominent and will speak to an audience of savvy, smart, empowered women who are coming to the Web.''

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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