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FedEx Picks Up Where Super Bowl Left Off

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Riding the wave of its Big Game effort, delivery service launches ad blitz on Web

FedEx today kicks off a week-long online ad blitz across four major Web properties to capitalize on the momentum gained from its first-quarter Super Bowl spot last night.

"It's a natural extension of that broad-based brand building that [took] place on Sunday," explained FedEx director of advertising Steve Pacheco. "The problem with the Super Bowl with us is that it doesn't occur during at-work hours. In this case, we're going to be able to take our messaging to the audience that is most applicable to us."

The delivery service aims to reach small- and midsize-business decision makers through full-page introductory messages, rich-media ads and a streaming-video version of a 30-second TV spot that broke in September.

The Web effort, from Boston-based independent i-shop Digitas, touts the ease and convenience of international shipping. It will run across CBS Marketwatch, Weather.com, USAToday.com and NYTimes.com—four of five Web publishers that joined forces 18 months ago to sell daytime ad space across each other's sites. (The other, Cnet Networks, was not involved in this particular buy.)

FedEx is only the fourth advertiser to strike a deal with the ad-sales consortium, known as the "At Work Brand Network." The three others—AT&T Wireless, General Electric and the U.S. Treasury—used it to run a promotion, introduce its "Imagination at work" tagline and unveil the new $20 bill, respectively.

A combination of circumstances needs to be in place for the network to be the right ad buy, said MarketWatch evp of sales and marketing Scot McLernon, calling it "the perfect storm." Chief among the factors is the advertiser's desire to leverage an offline campaign on the Web.

"[FedEx] is reaching that morning news read across the Web after a very large reach with the Super Bowl," McLernon said. "It's the adage of 'reach them at home on the couch' and then perhaps 'reach them out of home on their drive to work' and then 'reach them at work on their computer screen.' "

Other advertisers using the Web to build on their Big Game buys include Pepsi, which is running inventory on Yahoo! and SuperBowl.com to tout its Apple iTunes promotion, and H&R Block, which encouraged pregame TV viewers to log on to the Web to vote on the "block of the year."

Advertisers also use the network to target a white-collar, high-income, 18- to 34-year-old audience during the daytime, often referred to as the Web's "prime time." The At Work Brand Network reached nearly 30 percent of the at-work Internet audience in December, or 13.5 million people, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

"This is definitely a great time to reach people while shipping decisions are being made," said Shaun Farrar, media supervisor at Digitas.

"In an increasingly fragmented and confusing media world, we have this eight-hour window where the Internet reads," said Jeff Lanctot, vp of media at aQuantive's Avenue A, the Seattle-based agency that handled the campaign for the network's inaugural advertiser, AT&T Wireless. "There are very few other mediums that are there. … The simplicity in the media planning is refreshing."

Sources said campaigns that run for about a month with a large initial presence that tapers off midway and picks up towards the end generally cost anywhere from the mid-six figures to low-seven figures. FedEx spent about $2 million on online media for the first 11 months of last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.