INTERACTIVE: CASE STUDY/ELLE CHANNEL - The Elle/Clinique joint venture that aims to tempt more women online/A push channel, tailored to the way women use the Net, could take new media further

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.

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

interest.’



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

ad.’



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

may be.