US analysts are noting a sudden upswing in traditional companies stumping up for expensive online advertising.
Frito Lay, the maker of Doritos, said it had tripled its investment in internet marketing to an estimated $2m, a move aimed at complementing its broader initiative to reach teenagers.
On Thursday, fast food chain Wendy's International signed a deal with AOL Time Warner. Earlier in the week, AOL cemented a six-year deal with the National Basketball Association and has also deals with Sprint, Unilever, American Express and Burger King.
MSN and Yahoo have recently celebrated a raft of similar deals.
GartnerG2 advertising analyst Denise Garcia explained that marketers were wising up to the web and fitting it into their sales plans.
"These are advertisers that not only spend a lot more money than the dotcoms did but they advertise for brand awareness, not necessarily for direct response. That's absolutely good news for online advertising," she said.
This is good news for cash strapped dotcoms which are dependent on advertising spending after a lean 2001. Some analysts are expecting business to boom this year, with New York-based Competitive Media Reporting (CMR) predicting that internet advertising will grow by 8.8 per cent from last year.
However, online advertising remains a drop in the ocean in comparison to the overall advertising market, which was worth $94.6bn in 2001, according to CMR. Internet ad sales reached about $7bn in 2001.
Frito Lay has invested 8.4 per cent of its total advertising budget on online advertising, up from three per cent last year.
A spokesman said that the company had retooled marketing spending because it is determined to reach the growing and active teenaged population on the internet.
"With that as a primary objective, we wanted to be fully integrated across all media. And a big piece of that would be an online effort," he said. "The web is a vehicle that lets us do one-on-one marketing, and I don't know of any other way of making that connection."
AOL is also keen on making cross-marketing agreements, having signed up major companies to advertise across its online and offline outlets in recent months.
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