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'Lovely' perfume ads hit Web before TV

If a television commercial appears first on the Web, are people more likely to watch it?

tech reviews Updated: Aug 27, 2005 19:10 IST

If a television commercial appears first on the Web, are people more likely to watch it?

In a new twist for Web advertising, cosmetics maker Coty Inc is betting just that, launching the commercial for its new fragrance "Lovely" with actress Sarah Jessica Parker online.

Coty's Lancaster Group division ran the commercial on Vogue magazine's Internet site Style.com this week, hoping to attract the site's fashion and celebrity-obsessed readers well before airing the same ad for a broader market on television during the winter holiday season.

"It was a tactic to get higher visibility and to tap into different media," said Dennis Keogh, Lancaster's vice president of US marketing. "No one has seen it otherwise."

The move represents a shift in prestige for the Web. Many advertisers take commercials that appeared on television first and adapt them for the Web, while some create video meant exclusively for an Internet audience.

"It speaks to how far we've come as a medium that it's important enough to run it first on the Internet," said Elizabeth Stafford, head of marketing for CondeNet, the online division of publisher Conde Nast, which runs Style.com.

Stafford said several luxury goods marketers were planning online campaigns ahead of the September fashion shows. Style.com, with 1.2 million readers monthly, saw ad revenue through August jump nearly 80 per cent from a year earlier.

The "Lovely" campaign also gives insight into what advertisers mean by "integrated marketing" - tailoring a commercial message for different media but ensuring the messages support each other.

"Lovely" ads first broke in glossy print form with scented strips in fashion and trend magazines. Entertainment show "Access Hollywood" ran a segment about filming the ad, with a discussion about Parker's makeup and pink Oscar de la Renta gown, and directed viewers to the Style.com Web site.

In an example of entertainment reinforcing a marketer's goals, former "Sex and the City" star Parker graces the September cover of Vogue that just hit newsstands, refreshing her image as a style icon in time for the perfume's launch. Stafford said there was no connection between the campaign and Vogue's cover choice.

"The key thing is that people are planning in concert the different forms of media," said Sarah Kim, vice president of media at interactive agency Avenue A/Razorfish. "It's more about identifying who your consumer is and then determining the most effective and unique way to reach that audience."

Choosing the right vehicle has become much more of a gamble for advertisers as consumers shift media habits, spending more time online, cherry-picking television shows and movies and plugging into ad-free devices like the iPod.

In recent campaigns, American Airlines produced scripted television ads under its "We Know Why You Fly" slogan, then aired on the Web short home movies about family vacations and special events, all of which required air travel.

Fast food chain Wendy's, known for square hamburgers, crafted a Web cartoon about a "square" living in a world of circles. The animation later appeared in TV ads.

"The true part of integration is being iconic, using the best platform you have at your disposal and reaching people unexpectedly," said Arthur Ceria, executive creative director at WPP interactive agency OgilvyOne.

First Published: Aug 27, 2005 19:10 IST