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Register Ad Campaign Responds to Newspaper Gloom

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The Orange County Register is readying a marketing push to try to counter all the bad news about newspapers.

The Register, part of Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc., is looking to get the word out to advertisers about how the Santa Ana daily and related publications can help them target consumers.

The “Delivering More Than Newspapers” campaign is designed to raise the awareness of the Register and other Freedom publications as ways to reach broad or targeted segments of consumers.

“There is a lot of negative chatter about our industry,” said Lelani Bluner, vice president of marketing at the Register. “We felt this is a great time to reach out to our advertisers to remind them what we can offer them.”

The Register is getting the word out with print ads in the paper, in its community papers and Web sites, as well as in some outside publications.

“We’re looking to a number of channels to run it, but we’re still firming up plans,” Bluner said.

The Register plans to follow up prints ads with a direct marketing and e-mail campaign aimed at existing and potential advertisers.

The Register’s direct marketing agency, Irvine-based Thomsen & Null, is handling that work.

The paper also plans to hold seminars to show advertisers how to effectively use the Register and its Web site.

The campaign started internally, targeting the Register’s employees with posters, brochures and intranet messages remind-ing employees about their roles in the

company.

Meanwhile, the Register is working on a redesign of its Web site. Irvine’s Heilbrice Inc. is working on the make-over, expected sometime in July.

In other news, Freedom is starting a shorter version of its The Gaz-ette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., called Ink.

The paper is designed to be read in less than 10 minutes.

Freedom is hoping to revive advertising sales with Ink, which will target different neighborhoods and markets for advertisers reluctant to advertise in the main paper.


Kia Goes to Video Games

Irvine-based Kia Motors America Inc. continues to go after younger drivers with a video game marketing campaign for its Soul midsize sport utility vehicle.

The automaker teamed up with Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and Xbox Live to promote the Soul in national sweepstakes where game players can win prizes such as a Soul or Xbox video game console.

Kia is playing up the Soul with online marketing and an edgy TV commercial featuring hamsters rocking out in one of the vehicles.

After the sweepstakes, Kia plans to sponsor Xbox’s “NBA Live 09” to coincide with the 2009 NBA finals in June.

The campaign is the brainchild of the U.S. arm of Innocean Worldwide Americas, which, like Kia, is part of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co.

Initiative, part of New York-based ad agency Interpublic Group of Cos. that was named Kia’s media agency of record in January, also worked on the campaign.


Doner’s Newport Office Spared

Southfield, Mich.-based W.B. Doner & Co. confirmed it is letting go about 100 workers, nearly 12% of its 900-person staff, after losing two major accounts.

The silver lining is that the Newport Beach office was unaffected by the cuts, according to Andrea O’Donnell, a Doner spokeswoman.

The Newport Beach office has a stable list of clients that includes Irvine’s Mazda North America Operations and Lake Forest’s Del Taco LLC, part of Nashville, Tenn.-based Sagittarius Brands Inc.

The ad shop’s Michigan headquarters is expected to lose its $60 million yearly Expedia Inc. account and $100 million in PNC Financial Services Group Inc. work in coming months. The accounts are up for review without Doner.

A pullback in ad spending has forced many agencies, including several in OC, to lay off workers.

Doner’s Newport Beach office has been busy launching several campaigns, including a TV spot for Del Taco with its “be bold or go home” campaign.


Bits and Pieces:

Irvine-based FreeCreditReport.com has started a new advertising campaign. The new TV commercial, by Virginia’s Martin Agency Inc., portrays credit scores as shaggy, growling dogs that only FreeCreditReport.com can train. The campaign isn’t the end of FreeCreditReport.com’s struggling band commercials the company is known for. More band commercials are in the works First it was automakers, then apartment management companies and now homebuilders are borrowing a page from Fountain Valley’s Hyundai Motor America, part of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor. Early this year, Hyundai came out with a buyer assurance plan that allows those who lose their jobs to return their cars. Brea-based Shea Homes, part of Walnut-based J.F. Shea Co., has come out with the Shea Home Job Protection Plan that will pay your mortgage payments for six months if you involuntarily lose your job.

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