Digital postage e-tailer E-Stamp will launch a new ad campaign on Jan. 15. Two ads by agency of record Butler, Shine & Stern titled "Time-saving Tips" build on its previous campaign, "A Lot Can Happen When You Go Out to Buy Stamps."
Ellen Perelman, senior director of marketing at E-Stamp, San Mateo, Calif., said that while the company is increasing its ad spending by 50 percent this quarter to an unspecified amount, it decided to save money by eschewing the Super Bowl. "We're aware that there's a lot of dotcom mania out there," she said. "Companies are taking the proceeds of their IPOs and dumping them into these campaigns that don't necessarily yield business results."
Sources estimate that a dozen dotcoms have bought Super Bowl time, with a 30-second spot going for around $2 million.
By contrast, Perelman said, her company's previous television campaign, which launched last October, did generate the results it was looking for in terms of increased traffic to the site and increased sales, though she would not share numbers.
E-Stamp targets the 45 million U.S. small office/home office (or SOHO) business owners who spend $50 to $500 a month on postage, shipping and USPS Priority Mail and Express Mail. Customers must buy a $49.99 device called an "electronic vault," then purchase postage on the E-Stamp site via credit card or bank debit. There's a 10 percent fee per purchase, to a maximum of $24.99. They then can use laser or inkjet printers to print postage directly onto envelopes or labels.
Launching the campaign now, Perelman noted, gets the E-Stamp message to SOHO owners at a time of year when they typically upgrade software and office systems.
Greg Stern, president of Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, said the new spots continue the focus and humorous approach of earlier ads. "We tried to appeal to both the pride of accomplishment SOHO owners feel and the ingenuity they use to make things work without the resources of a large company behind them," Stern said. "The ads appeal to the one thing which ties [small business owners] together--the need to save time."
Spots will run during prime time and cable shows, including NFL playoff games. Media placement was handled by Butler, Shine & Stern with partner TBS Media Management, New York, handling broadcast. The schedule includes print advertising in magazines and local business newspapers, with a direct mail and e-mail campaign created and run by Pickholz-Tweedy Co., New York.