Shopsmart in £12m ad push

Shopsmart.com, the price comparison Website, this week launches its biggest ad blitz to date.

With a £12m marketing budget for 2000, the company is building on its Channel 5 evening movie sponsorship by running ads on ITV, Channel 4 and satellite TV channels.

The new campaign will also include online advertising on Freeserve, MSN and AOL, all of which have their own shopping “channels”.

Shopsmart is going all out to build on its early lead over the growing number of shopping-related Websites. Figures from Internet monitor MMXI in January showed the 18-month-old company increased its home reach to 3.8 per cent from 2.2 per cent in December. This translated into 500,000 unique users and puts Shopsmart comfortably ahead of rivals, such as Asda’s Valuemad.com and BT’s btspree.com.

Shopsmart managing director Daniel Gestetner attributes this raised awareness to the Channel 5 sponsorship, which gives the brand a total of one minute prime-time TV every day.

Last weekend’s press reports suggested an imminent float for Shopsmart, valuing the company at £400m, in line with lastminute.com’s mooted float price. Gestetner says this could happen but “we might also look at further private funding or mergers”.

The company plans to open localised Websites throughout Europe this year, beginning with a Swedish site at the end of March.

Shopsmart marketing director Steve Chippington describes the new ads as “stunningly different” to the “two types” of usual dot-com creatives, which either focus on technology or use obscure imagery.

New Media is edited by Robert Dwek, dwek@journalist.co.uk

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