TheStreet.com Taps DeVito/Verdi for Re-launch

Expect edgy ads from financial news and information company TheStreet.com, which late Thursday selected DeVito/Verdi as agency of record for its June re-launch.

The company’s advertising strategy is especially critical at this juncture, as it moves to expand its reach beyond financial professionals to the world at large. The company is changing its strategy, splitting its content between a free site and separate subscription sites.

The choice of DeVito/Verdi portends an interesting campaign. The shop has made its name with attention-getting and controversial ads. Its campaign for New York Magazine, which plastered buses with the slogan, “possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for,” sent Mayor Giuliani into a rage. A campaign for Time Out New York magazine told viewers, “Welcome to New York, Now Get Out.” Other controversial campaigns include one for a pro-choice group and another for the ACLU. Now, the agency is also crafting a campaign for New York senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton.

“DeVito/Verdi was the clear winner because of their high-impact creative and pragmatic strategic advice, both of which will help us build a relationship with a much broader audience than we’ve ever targeted,” said Cathy Fetell, chief planning officer and executive vice president of communications of TheStreet.com.

“Their expertise will help us leverage our winning brand as we launch our free site aimed at investors of all experience levels.”

Billings have not yet been determined. TheStreet.com (TSCM) has worked with a variety of different agencies in the past, but has lately kept a low profile and it expects to continue working with Avenue A for its online advertising.

The launch of the free site is partially a response to the difficulty of the subscription model, and the company is hoping to bring in more money from advertisers through boosting traffic. Meanwhile, higher-level content aimed at financial professionals will be available, for a subscription fee, at other sites in the network.

“The company’s new business model is sure to yield tremendous, broad-based interest, and we are very excited to help create strong top-of-mind awareness of the soon-to-be-free TheStreet.com site,” said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi.

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