Full Steam Ahead for Half.com

Client Is All Smiles as $10 Mil. OWN&P Campaign Hits the Air
SAN FRANCISCO–A new ad campaign for Half.com speaks to people who might have bargains on their mind.
Three TV commercials are part of the e-commerce site’s first national campaign. The $10 million push, via Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, will span traditional media as well as advertising on ATM screens and billboard trucks.
Half.com is a virtual flea market where users buy and sell used books, games and movies for at least half off the list price. Unlike auction services such as eBay, there is no bidding for items.
In a TV spot titled “Wedding Books,” an attractive woman is shown kissing a man and planning a future date. Smitten, she visits Half.com, looking for wedding books and merchandise. When she arrives at the man’s home, he answers the door wearing only a towel. He quickly turns around, exposing a back matted with shaggy hair. A voiceover reassures the woman she can head back to Half.com and sell what she’s bought.
“People are accustomed to e-commerce, but we needed to inject humor into the process,” said Wayne Buder, president of the San Francisco agency.
In another spot, a young woman receives a CD of death metal band Slayer as a gift from her grandmother. She takes the advice of a friend and sells it on Half.com.
OWN&P won the $15-25 million account in November [Adweek, Nov. 22]. Company executives said they encouraged the agency to design offbeat ads.
“We expect to bring a smile to the people who see our advertising,” Half.com marketing “guru” Mark Hughes said.
The campaign broke nationally this month and runs through November. TV ads are airing on cable; radio will air on live national talk shows. Print ads will run in various national publications.
Half.com, Conshohocken, Pa., also intends to deploy unusual grassroots marketing tactics, including issuing “citations” to shoppers at book and music stores who are paying regular prices. K

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