Yahoo! Launches TV, Radio Campaign

Just weeks after hiring a new chief marketing officer, Yahoo! is ramping up its advertising efforts, with the launch of a new television and radio campaign this weekend.

The ads, designed by its agency of record, Havas’ Black Rocket, seek to position Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! as the place for quick, effective shopping.

The 30-second TV spot, “Superhero,” is aimed at promoting Yahoo! Shopping. The ad features a hapless, out-of-shape comic book-style superhero, who turns to the Web portal after failing to thwart a purse-snatcher by purchasing replacement purses for the victims.

The spot will debut Sunday on Fox, during the network television debut of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The spot also will run in broadcast television networks in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco through Dec. 16.

Three new radio spots will focus on specific features of Yahoo! Shopping, including comparison shopping, and Yahoo! Wallet. Additionally, one of the spots will concentrate on the combined benefits of the Web portal’s new shopping network, which includes Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Auctions, Yahoo! Warehouse and Yahoo! Classifieds.

The radio spots will air in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. through Dec. 16. Spending on the campaign was not disclosed.

Yahoo!’s advertising to date has focused primarily on Yahoo! Shopping. The company made history in 1996 as one of the first dot-coms to debut TV commercials, launching its long-running “Do You Yahoo!?” campaign, also designed by Black Rocket. The first execution in the campaign, which has included a half-dozen different TV spots, was “The Pond,” featuring a man who shopped for bait online.

Whether Yahoo! will continue to take an offbeat approach to its future advertising remains in question, however. Earlier this month at an analyst briefing, chief executive Terry Semel outlined a plan that sought to handle Yahoo! as a more mature brand — downplaying the company’s perception as a youthful, fast-paced and oftentimes arrogant dot-com.

Along the same lines, Yahoo! just prior to the briefing announced the appointment of John Costello, a seasoned marketing executive with experience at old-economy stalwarts like Proctor & Gamble and Sears.

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