uBid Launches National Ad Campaign

Online auctioneer uBid is debuting its first national ad campaign, tapping online and offline elements of CBS Sports, a unit of New York-based Viacom’s CBS Television division.

The campaign for the Chicago-based site, which is majority owned by Internet holding company CMGI, aims to promote the site by focusing on the competitive thrill of bidding via Web auctions.

The 30-second television spot, “One-on-One,” was created by Chicago-based Bagby and Company and will debut during CBS Sports’ telecast of the New York Jets’ pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens, on Aug. 18.

“One-on-One draws a parallel between the excitement of bidding online at uBid and the passion and drama of competitive sports,” said agency chairman Steven Bagby. “The spot is fun, charming and stays focused on defining uBid as the online auction marketplace that offers consumers brand name merchandise at greatly reduced prices.”

Granted, it’s going to be an uphill fight — eBay, of course, is the recognized market leader in the field. But with a wide media buy tied into sports broadcasts, the company is hoping to see results. The spot will air throughout the fall on CBS Television — during telecasts of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, college football games, and National Football League match-ups.

An online version of the spot will run on CBS.SportsLine.com, the flagship site of SportsLine.com, which in 1997 became associated with the Viacom-owned television broadcaster through a promotional and content-sharing agreement. CBS also received a stake in the firm through that deal.

Under the advertising agreement with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based SportsLine, uBid also becomes the site’s auction partner. (Financial details of neither the auction agreement nor the media spending were disclosed.)

“This relationship is part of an aggressive plan to increase uBid’s brand awareness and bring more buyers and sellers to the site,” said Alan Cohen, who is senior vice president of marketing at uBid. “The deal with SportsLine.com is significant for uBid in that it provides us with unique access to SportsLine.com’s sizable and targeted audience, affluent males ages 18-54, which is the exact demographic of uBid’s captive audience. The real deal clincher is that CBS SportsLine.com users can bid on uBid auction listings without leaving CBS SportsLine.com.”

SportsLine executives, meanwhile, described the agreement as an example of its ability to tap into cross-media advertising agreements, thanks to its healthy relationship with partner and stakeholder CBS.

“We were able to create an integrated cross-platform sponsorship opportunity for uBid giving them access to our large, targeted online audience while leveraging our partnership with CBS to launch uBid’s first national television campaign,” said Andrew Sturner, who is president of corporate and business development for SportsLine.com. “Through this new relationship, SportsLine.com has monetized its assets while providing our users with superior auction functionality powered by uBid.”

Indeed, SportsLine has demonstrated itself to be a scrappy player in the increasingly lucrative business of multi-platform deal-making — a practice dominated by the likes of AOL Time Warner, with its bevy of magazines, cable networks and online properties.

But last month, for instance, SportsLine’s relationship with CBS helped the broadcaster strike a multi-media ad deal with the NFL, in which SportsLine would produce, host and repesent the league’s Web properties, as well as team sites. (At the time, AOL also signed the NFL to an advertising deal, in which the league would advertise on its Web properties.)

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