Clear Channel, True.com Hook Up

LOS ANGELES Clear Channel Entertainment Properties and online dating site True.com have formed a marketing relationship that seeks to connect live-music venues with romance-seeking singles—and for the past two weeks, this high-profile pair has been sighted from Boston to Albuquerque, N.M., to San Francisco.

“The True.com brand is clean; it’s got a hip, progressive feel,” said Jason Pruismann, chief marketing officer of the Dallas-based Web site. “Partnering with Clear Channel—an entertainment powerhouse—helps us get established with a trendy, upscale audience.”

Online since mid-2003, True.com launched an aggressive branding campaign in June, blanketing pop-radio airwaves with spots created by Dallas agency The Richards Group. In its most nontraditional marketing effort, True.com is sponsoring “fully branded second stages at major [Clear Channel-owned] venues in 16 cities,” said Kevin Chernett, vice president of national sales and marketing at CCEP.

By leveraging itself with Clear Channel’s artist and event-production resources, Pruismann explained, the e-dating site hopes to reach its core demo, 25- to 35-year-old single men and women in search of safe, compatible relationships.

“[That’s] a typical summer concert-going crowd,” Chernett said.

Regional bands, selected to complement the main-draw artists, perform on the True.com-sponsored stages; collectively, the stages host 17-20 shows each week.

Between sets, an 11-member traveling “True Crew” hosts “True Hook-Ups,” 10- to 15-minute audience-participation games encouraging singles to “live, love and learn [the Web site’s] secrets to lasting romance.” Prizes include Web site subscription discounts and tickets to other Clear Channel-venue events.

Additionally, True.com will run CCEP concert information and content feeds, as well as receive radio, Web and newsletter promotions from Clear Channel-owned stations.

Although the campaign budget was not revealed, “the synergy of the deal has a value that far surpasses the individual pieces,” Pruismann said. “The radio piece alone is worth the cost of the deal.”

With nearly 1 million subscribers, True.com is one of the fastest-growing online personal Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix. The site’s love affair with CCEP is scheduled to last at least through mid-September, considered the end of the summer concert season.