Push has come to shove and, as push technology comes of age, it’s
bringing with it the unlikely spectacle of female brands muscling in on
the new-media scrum.
With push technology, instead of surfing the Web for information, you
’subscribe’ to a ’channel’ and the information is sent to your computer,
like a TV broadcast.
Adherents argue that channels may help extend the reach of new media
into the women’s market.
A report by the US market researcher, Jupiter Communications, estimates
women will make up between 45 and 47 per cent of the online population
by 2002. ’Women have less discretionary time for surfing, their needs
are more utility based and shopping and financial services will be key
to them,’ Yvette DeBow, vice-president of Jupiter, explains. Lack of
technical interest also inhibits the development of Web Woman.
Push technology gets around both obstacles, according to Hachette
Filipacchi Grolier, which is rolling out an Elle push channel in
conjunction with the cosmetics brand, Clinique.
’We are the first company to convince a worldwide cosmetic brand to use
push’, Laurent Negrier, the director of Interdeco Grolier, the online
advertising arm of HFG, comments. ’The aim is to develop Clinique’s
online strategy in France, the UK, Australia and Germany.’
Clinique already has a US Website, and Elle has nine sites around the
world plus Elle.com, a federation site that picks the best from all the
others. The push channel offers teasers, screen savers, horoscopes,
cosmetic tips and links to Clinique and Elle sites.
’It offers impact, home delivery and a new way to provide services for
women,’ Negrier adds.
’We’re very committed to new media,’ Angela Capp, Clinique’s
vice-president for special markets and new media, affirms. ’We have
200,000 registered users on our site, and one of our goals has been to
be proactive and pre-emptive in bringing women online.’
The push channel aims to leverage Elle’s worldwide branding and cater
for local differences. Globally there are 29 versions of the title.
’Imagine having 29 sisters,’ Cynthia Durcanin, Elle’s online editor,
says. ’Their tastes will be pretty different.’
’We have to make sure the right banner ads go to the right women,’
Negrier explains, ’so we use NetGravity, an ad server that looks for the
country you log on from and sends the right messages. Log on from
Australia and you get information on sun products, log on from France
and you get details of make-up colours - it’s in-built marketing
intelligence. We follow the efficiency of the campaign by showing
click-through rates and report on banners that aren’t generating enough
However, Capp has reservations. ’Our challenge as an advertiser is to
ensure that what is pushed creates real value for consumers. It has to
be attractive and engaging, otherwise it will feel too much like an
Capp remains tight-lipped on the finances of the deal. ’Spending on new
media is all about return on investment.’ she says. The truth will be
revealed after the initial six-month test period. In the meantime, with
Microsoft incorporating push technology into its new version of Windows,
push channels will be appearing on a small screen near you. Wherever you