Viking Gets Interactive with HGTV

High-end kitchen appliance manufacturer Viking Range has enlisted HGTV.com for its first major foray into online advertising.

The campaign centers around HGTV.com’s Kitchen Design Center application, which allows consumers and professional kitchen designers to create plans for a new or remodeled kitchen, complete with digital versions of Viking appliances. The campaign also includes banner advertising on the company’s HGTV Pro and Food.com sites.

“We wanted to do something that would keep the Viking brand out there for the whole year,” said Terry Tanner, VP of media for The Raimey Agency, who worked with Viking to plan the HGTV.com campaign. “This was attractive because it was a total package; it wasn’t just banner ads.”

Viking spends most of its ad budget on print, primarily consumer magazines, followed by cable and then trade media. While Viking has done some online advertising in the past, most of it was non-paid “pass-through” inventory linked to offline buys. Viking’s target audience is affluent consumers, along with professional designers and builders.

If this online campaign with HGTV.com goes well, Viking will use it as a model for its future online strategy. “We’re talking a lot more about measuring leads than we were two years ago,” Tanner said. “What we’re doing now will set up what we do online in the future.”

HGTV.com paints the Kitchen Design Center as a way to deliver value to consumers, as well as a way to provide advertisers with a more integrated opportunity to reach potential buyers.

“Instead of being intrusive, we think people will enjoy working with the actual appliances they’re considering buying when they make their plans,” said Jim Sexton, VP of HGTV.com. “It’s great content that makes the Design Center more robust.”

Besides Viking, the company is lining up other advertisers for the Kitchen Design Center, as well as an upcoming bathroom design application. Current plans are for each advertiser to have its own branded showroom, where competitive advertisers would be restricted. The application would also have generic rooms where all brands are represented.

HGTV is slowly rolling out the application to be sure there are no bugs in the system before widely promoting the Design Center. It is currently linked from the navigation on the home page, and will be moved to a more prominent position on the site and featured in email newsletters in coming weeks. A TV spot has been produced and will begin airing on HGTV’s cable network in coming weeks.

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