CalorieCount.com Targets Media Buyers

Food database and weight management site CalorieCount.com is looking to attract a new crop of advertisers with a campaign touting its “Strength in Numbers.”

The effort, which began this week, is the first major ad campaign for the New York Times-owned brand. CalorieCount.com was founded by two aerospace engineers in 2003. About.com, which is a division of the New York Times, purchased it in 2006.

Online ads now running on sites targeted to media buyers and advertisers—like Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Mediabistro and Advertising Age—tout the site’s reach and expertise in reaching health-conscious consumers. “Wake up and smell the interactive ads. Our contextual unit tailor ads to exactly what consumers are, well consuming,” reads one rich media ad.

The goal is to broaden the brand’s visibility among food manufacturers who might not have heard of the site before, said About.com’s general manager of emerging business Howard Sherman. Brands such as Splenda and Jell-O have advertised with CalorieCount.com in the past, but now, the site’s trying to expand its reach and gain more market share, by touting its expertise and intelligence-driven technology in delivering ads to consumer, Sherman added.

CalorieCount.com’s database, for instance, includes nutrition information on more than 102,000 foods, and marketers can take advantage of what consumers are searching for any minute, he said. For instance, a visitor to the site searching for “bagels” might be directed to a landing page where ads from food manufacturers with healthy or lower-calorie versions of the breakfast food will pop up.

The campaign also includes a consumer-facing component, with an ad slated to run in the New York Times, which shows popular foods like fried eggs and bacon arranged artfully to represent the number of calories they contain. Such an approach emphasizes the power of calorie counting and that “every meal has a consequence,” Sherman said. The Ad Store handled creative duties while Gotham Direct oversaw media buying.

CalorieCount.com is also trying to capitalize on the anticipated New Year’s weight loss resolution traffic with its new effort. Sherman said traffic to the site is “cyclical,” with most of the spike coming around the January to March months, which eventually ticks up again around warmer weather. Consumers don’t seem to be as concerned about weight loss during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time frame, Sherman said, adding that that’s probably because “they need to give themselves a break.”