Recently, we have been discussing the use of non-traditional forms of advertising. Popsugar is “the female- and fashion-oriented publishing company” (2) that is run completely on a digital media platform. The company has grown to 325 employees, and it is speculated that annual sales are $100 million. “Display advertising on its 12 content sites make up about 45% of revenues, and a roughly equal amount comes from its fashion search engine, ShopStyle.” (2)
Amid New York Fashion Week, Popsugar has released an app devoted solely to following the shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Popsugar’s VP of product management Chris George said, “We want to make sure we’re super serving our audience across the interests they’re most passionate about. We want to give them an experience that goes much deeper than how they usually access our content.” (1)
They are referring to this app as ‘seasonal’ because it will not be updated at any other point throughout the year, but they have found success with other such apps for Halloween and award seasons, which has been downloaded tens of thousands of times. Other companies have done similar things, like the March Madness app that followed the college basketball tournament, or the app that followed the World Cup. It seems like these apps would be a waste of space for consumers and resources for the company, but in actuality “it’s a really good promotional strategy,” (1) says Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb.
Creating these ‘seasonal’ apps “gives PopSugar another avenue to reach consumers beyond its desktop experience and daily emails.” (1) This strategy allows them to follow trends in their viewer ship and take advantage of a “spike in traffic.” (1) The Popsugar team can create an app in just a few days that only costs them $40,000, and mobile apps are a great way to attract advertising revenue.
But is this form of advertising enough? Although the company is mostly multi-media, they have recently “concluded that old-fashioned media — television, magazines, and even downright Neanderthal exterior ads on the sides of buses, taxis, and phone booths — was the best place to boost awareness for its search-engine business.” (2) Brian Sugar, owner of the company, wanted to build up “unaided brand awareness,” which “means convincing consumers to go to your site just because, rather than because you spent money on Google keywords to lure them there.” (2) They created a campaign focused around the model Miranda Kerr pulling fashion products out of her computer screen.
Both of these methods are forms of advertising and create a positive brand image for Popsugar, but which form is more effective? Is an interactive media app the way to draw in customers or are old fashioned adds still the way to get peoples attention?
1) Castillo, M. (2014, September 5). PopSugar Creates Yet Another Seasonal App, This Time For Fashion Week. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
2) Lashinsky, A. (2014, January 30). For digital native PopSugar, an old-school advertising strategy. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
3) Miranda Kerr Is the New Face of ShopStyle. (2013, December 23). Retrieved September 10, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMmTEOdBujw