McLernon felt that his website could reach just as many if not more people in an eight-hour workday than his traditional competitors, so he recruited the help of interactive agency Avenue A and decided to approach other branded sites with the idea of establishing a network that would make it easy for advertisers to reach their dream targets — affluent, educated Web surfers.
From this, the At-Work Brand Network was formed, composed of CBS Marketwatch.com, NYTimes.com, Weather.com, USAToday.com, and CNET Networks. According to Media Metrix, these five sites alone reach 17 million at-work users, or 43% of the total at-work audience. The publishers hope that media buyers will appreciate this impressive reach.
The network targets users between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., with the first three hours of the workday being peak times. Buying advertising in dayparts is nothing new, but according to Jeff Lanctot, chief media strategist at Avenue A, "no other medium has penetrated the daytime like the Internet has." Lanctot says that at-work users have been proven to be more affluent compared to at-home TV watchers. Another useful thing about the At-Work Brand Network is that an advertiser can submit one set of creative to one website and either have it run across the entire network or cherry-pick sites one by one.
Their first client, AT&T Wireless, (brought in by Avenue A, whose sister company Atlas DMT will do the ad serving), will run a month-long campaign, consisting of three segments. The first will use Flash and large ad units, the second will be a brand recall effort, including a promotional giveaway, and the final segment will return to Flash and large ads to remind consumers that the promotion will be ending soon.
Jason Krebs, VP of sales at NYTimes.com, sees the At-Work Brand Network as a means to draw more traditional advertisers online. "It is usually difficult to place online buys for traditional advertisers. This network alleviates the concerns of advertisers and gives them a steady stream of targeting throughout the workday." With business expected to grow (with both more advertisers and publishers), the At-Work Brand Network hired a rep firm to come in and close more deals, and to help them along, each site is planning to conduct a separate brand study to determine the network’s effectiveness. As McLernon says, "On the Web, daytime IS prime time." Here’s hoping traditional advertisers see it that way.