FreeRide.com Tests First Advertising Campaign

Loyalty marketer FreeRide.com Monday launched the test phase of what will eventually be a national advertising campaign, encompassing radio, newspaper, and outdoor buys.

The campaign, which features the tag line “The Fast Lane to Free Stuff”, starts in New York and San Francisco, and will expand to 10 markets in April. Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, and Seattle will be targeted in that phase of the year-long effort, which was crafted by Mezzina/Brown. Spending wasn’t disclosed.

“Our brand, essentially, is very fun,” said Lisa Dowdy, FreeRide.com’s vice president of marketing and consumer services. “The promotion is aimed at increasing awareness about our brand.”

The ads will feature the company’s bright yellow and black taxicab logo, with a message stressing how FreeRide.com rewards consumers for doing everyday things. The company gives members “points” for surfing Web sites, downloading demonstrations or software, and redeeming gift certificates online or in stores. These “points” can then be used for online or offline offers from sponsors.

The company is kicking off its campaign with a sweepstakes, driving people to its site to sign up to win a free trip to Aruba. Users will have a chance to get more entries by surfing through the site, where special icons will be hidden.

FreeRide.com is also using guerrilla marketing techniques in New York, providing free trolleys for commuters on city streets on what it’s calling “Free Ride Friday,” Feb. 4th. The company is also hosting a party that night, to which it will invite second-place winners in the Aruba trip giveaway.

Although the company wouldn’t say how much dough it’s shelling out, FreeRide.com would say the money came from a $30 million round of financing it closed in December. Investors include Goldman Sachs, H & Q, and Fleet Equity Partners.

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