As it flips the switch today on Flip.com, a media creation service and community site geared towards teen girls, CondéNet can be happy in the knowledge it’s already secured considerable media and advertiser buzz. A December story in The Wall Street Journal extensively profiled the firm’s research and development process for the site, and fashion and beauty brands including Nordstrom and Vera Wang have been running ads since the beta launch.
Now all Flip.com needs is an audience.
Predicated on the notion that young girls have a turbocharged instinct to personalize their stuff, Flip.com lets its members design and publish “flipbooks” containing text, images, audio and video.
“They’re at a time in their lives where they’re exploring who they are and forming personal identity,” Flip.com Executive Editor Chris Gonzalez said of the site’s target demo. “When we were looking at what girls were doing online, a lot of them were making lists and posting pictures. We thought there had to be a better way.”
The site offers drag-and-drop editing for several forms of media and provides a creative asset library members can use to supplement their personal contributions. One of Flip.com’s several original ad products is an option for marketers to feed their own creative assets into this library; girls can later draw from these when creating their flipbooks. Any sponsored creative asset used in such a manner will offer links back to the advertiser or product’s site.
Flip said members in the beta phase show no preference or distaste for sponsored content, so long as they like the image. “It’s allowing advertisers to be a part of the content, to be a part of the girls’ experience,” said Gonzalez.
Another signature ad product involves allowing site users to choose which ads appear on their profile, shades of an approach that has been tried by blog platform provider Six Apart and AWS Convergence Technologies, maker of the WeatherBug service. When a person first signs up she chooses from a list of advertisers that have chosen to participate.
Advertisers can also set up sponsored “clubs” and contests of the sort now ubiquitous on YouTube and MySpace. Vera Wang has created one such contest, asking girls to create flipbooks that answer the question, “Why were you born to rule?”
“The idea is to allow advertisers to participate in a way that’s productive to the girls and is transparent, not this gratuitous product placement,” said Dee Solomon, SVP of sales and marketing for CondéNet’s Internet division.
CondéNet has been talking up Flip to advertisers and agencies for at least eight months. That’s when it approached OMD Digital, according to Jessica Ulin, group director of strategy for the agency’s Johnson & Johnson business, which includes principal Flip launch sponsor Clean & Clear.
Clean & Clear is advertising in most of the site’s ad formats, including the creative asset library, the sponsor select, the contests, and a run of site banner buy. “It’s something we’ve been really excited about, especially as it relates to brands in the teen girl market,” said Ulin, who added the chance to facilitate teen creativity is a plus from a brand perspective.
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