Yahoo! Gets ‘Real’ About Its Personals

SAN FRANCISCO Fifty available singles, including one perched high above Sunset Boulevard on a billboard, are part of a new Yahoo! Personals online campaign, “Project: Real People,” which launched today.

The campaign features 50 “real” people, not models, who are currently using Yahoo! Personals for dating. Los Angeles single Julie Koehnen, 39, is living—and dating via Yahoo! Personals—on the billboard for three days, starting today.

Both marketers and consumers in focus groups, who voiced their opinions “loud and clear,” shaped the in-house campaign said Cricket Wardein, director of marketing for Yahoo! Personals.

“Seventy percent told us they think models are unattainable,” Wardein said. So with the new online campaign, “Every person in the Yahoo! Personals could e-mail and get a date with anyone.”

The goal of the campaign is “to highlight the best assets of the Yahoo! site, our great, diverse community of singles,” Wardein said.

The online service in October asked members if they wanted to be part of the campaign. In two weeks, there were 38,000 volunteers, eventually narrowed down to 50.

Yahoo! said there’s a diverse mix of people in the project, from single moms to Marines to screenwriters, which will be featured throughout 2004 in Yahoo! Personals photography and in online ads on Yahoo! and other sites.

Campaign spending was undisclosed. Yahoo! spent $42 million on 2002 advertising and $28 million through September 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.