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AdVantage: buy.com goes back to the basics
by Ryan Monceaux, Editor In Chief


Buy.com has done it this time. Their new media campaign is running on cable and during major NFL games (most notably last weekend's playoff games on FOX and CBS) with the most profound, yet simple, message that a dot com has come out with.

For each 30-second ad, a solid black background with a small white buy.com logo appears. That's it. Nothing else happens. The company intentionally chose not to utilize sound or music to emphasize its goal of focusing on its brand and to break through the recent dot com hysteria.

"It's unbelievable, the amount of feedback we have gotten for this campaign," says Jennifer Blanchfield, buy.com's director of marketing. "We've generated such a positive response as it shows that people are tired of the constant dot com hype. People are saying that this campaign is a breath of fresh air."

Blanchfield said that a print campaign would begin the Friday before the Super Bowl, another indication of buy.com's marriage to pro sports. All of the company's major advertising pushes have been geared around happenings in the NFL, with the exception of the dot com's sponsorship of the Triple A tour of pro golf (formerly the Nike Tour), now called the Buy.com Tour.


Speaking of Nike ...
Have you seen the new campaign for whatever.nike.com? Truly one of the biggest wastes of technology to come along in a while, this Quicktime-enhanced campaign begins on network television but ends on the Web at Nike's site.

The idea is to have an ordinary scrub race Marion Jones, the world's fastest woman, through a neighborhood where all sorts of calamities happen. The ending is up in the air as the 60-second spot comes to an end. Viewers are prompted to go to the company's Web site and select the ending of their choice. Given several options (my personal favorite is the "Dunk on Your Ass" ending where Jones hoops all over the slob), the viewer is left in the new position of deciding how to end a commercial.

At the end of the spot, it's revealed that the entire ordeal is for the Nike Air Cross Trainer II running shoe (the campaign name comes from the slogan "It's for whatever"), another Nike brainchild where the hype outperforms the product. The Beaverton, Oregon, company's push towards women's athletics has put the Jones ad on the air first, with baseball slugger Mark McGwire up next and snowboarder Rob Kingwill to follow. All three ads will end with viewers asked to go to the site for what the company hopes to be a "20-minute interactive experience with the brand." Let me tell you this: if you stay 20 minutes, not only will your sanity be questioned but so will your social life.

It's a nice idea, but is it worth all of the hassle? I don't think so.


FatTraffic stuck in the slow lane
FatTraffic.com, the Web marketing firm who promises to get your site to the top of the major search engines, has experienced a flat tire on the on-ramp to the Information Superhighway. Although they planned to go live by the beginning of 2000, there has been a snag in beta testing and Michelle Riess, a FatTraffic spokesperson, says it will be the end of this quarter or the beginning of the next before the site is ready.

So why the hold up? Well, no one at FatTraffic is talking. The positioning system that is supposed to do the work of moving your site into "The Fat Lane," is working fine, Riess says, and should be able to move clients to the top of leading search engines such as WebCrawler, Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek and more. Not mentioned is Yahoo, the top portal of them all. Could this be the hold up? Who knows…Everyone at FatTraffic is keeping their big fat mouths shut.




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