Circuit City Gets Online Makeover

If you build it, or in the case of Circuit City’s Web site, re-build it, they won’t necessarily come. So, to ensure visits to the new, the electronics retailer yesterday started rolling out a multimedia push that promotes a “Plasma Screen TV Makeover” online contest that carries a grand prize of five flat-screen TVs and home-theater equipment worth $20,000.

“We want to make sure folks ex-perience the site prior to going into the peak season,” said Cathy Mc-Carthy, director of marketing for the Richmond, Va., company’s Web team.

Online ads from Sharpe Partners in New York will run on properties such as AOL and MSN. TV ads on ESPN will reach a largely male audience, while print ads in Good Housekeeping that plug a “Digital Memories Makeover” sweepstakes are aimed at women. Though Donor in Southfield, Mich., won the broadcast-creative portion of Circuit City’s estimated $150 million account in June, offline creative for this push was handled in-house.

This is the first significant revamp of since its launch in 1999. The site recorded 4.6 million unique visitors in July, per Nielsen/NetRatings, almost half the 8.9 million reeled in by its chief competitor,

Interpublic Group’s R/GA in New York designed the Circuit City site; BroadVision in Richmond handled software architecture.