Skechers Ties Knot with AOL

Skechers USA inked a distribution deal with America Online, giving the lifestyle footware brand placement in AOL’s e-commerce areas. More importantly, it joins a host of traditional companies playing the Internet marketing game gingerly by moving online using the medium’s largest and most well-known property.

Under the agreement with America Online, Skechers, which markets primarily to younger, “Gen Y” consumers, will hold a tenant position within the “Shoes, Bags and Accessories” area of Shop@AOL linking to Skechers.com, meaning that one of its banners will appear on the page beside items that AOL carries.

Shop@AOL.com is AOL’s online shopping site and is featured on the AOL service as well as Web properties AOL.COM, CompuServe, Netscape Netcenter, Spinner and Winamp. Consumers clicking on the Skechers banner are directed to the company’s e-commerce Web site.

Through terms of the deal, the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based shoe company also receives AOL Keyword: Skechers, which links to Skechers.com.

“The agreement with AOL is not only a tremendous branding opportunity for Skechers because of the volume of consumers it reaches, but also the specific audience,” said Skechers president Michael Greenberg. “As the only lifestyle brand that designs and markets footwear for men, women and kids, our partnerships and agreements must reflect our cutting-edge image and universal appeal.

“We have found that AOL attracts the same consumers, with nearly half our database currently using AOL. Like Skechers, AOL is a popular, user-friendly service used by the entire family.”

Skechers joins a growing suite of offline advertisers moving online by way of the Internet industry giant. In recent weeks, Restoration Hardware and Federated Department Stores, the parent of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores, have both inked distribution or promotional deals with Dulles, Va.-based America Online.

Last week, Visa USA launched a major online promotion for Visa cards in conjunction with the Imagine Entertainment / Universal Pictures release of “The Grinch” and using AOL in large part.

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