In response to growing client demand for beyond-the-banner campaigns, a number of online rep networks have launched departments dedicated solely to brokering sponsorships.
"Advertisers are asking for it more,'' says Scott Paternoster, president of the CliqNow sales group. "They weren't asking for it a year ago." CliqNow has dedicated four salespeople to signing advertisers to sponsorship deals; two staffers have been added in the last three months. So far, sponsorships have been tested on two sites, Thomson's Investor's Network--which recently signed a deal with trading site Quick & Reilly Sure Trade--and the National School Reporter. There are plans to include more of the company's 130 sites.
CliqNow's sponsorship offensive is joined by others, including DoubleClick, which created a retail Cupid Shop promotion for AltaVista sponsored by Godiva and Frederick's of Hollywood. DoubleClick's new sponsorship division will be headed by Chris Theodoros, vice president, director of sponsorship sales.
24/7 Media, which was recently formed by the merger of Katz Millennium Marketing, Petry Interactive and Interactive Imaginations, has, too, launched a sponsorship department, to be headed by Scott Cohen, senior vice president, promotions, sponsorships and syndication. Like CliqNow, 24/7 will begin its program by testing a shortlist of its sites.
Cohen said the sponsorship team will support its sales and marketing departments. But sponsorships, he says, "will prove to be the most significant revenue stream for this company."
--by Adrienne Mand and Laura Rich