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Urbanspoon's new TV ad campaign

Urbanspoon scratched and clawed its way to success, driven by the bootstrapping mindset of founders Adam Doppelt, Ethan Lowry and Patrick O’Donnell. The online restaurant directory grew largely through word-of-mouth; smart SEO and a cutting-edge iPhone application that caught the attention of the marketers at Apple.

Except for a largely unsuccessful radio campaign, Urbanspoon didn’t do much broad-based consumer marketing. But that’s changing this week when the company — which was  gobbled up by IAC in 2009 — takes to the airwaves with a new TV ad campaign that’s airing in Seattle.

It comes at a period of significant growth for Urbanspoon, whose unique monthly visitor count now stands at a very impressive 19.5 million. Amazingly, Urbanspoon — despite its big corporate parent — still operates very much as a scrappy startup (that’s part of the reason why the ad campaign caught our eye).

Could this be a sign that Urbanspoon is growing up? Or does it signal heated competition from the likes of Yelp — which just went public — and others?

“It makes sense for them to go into some of these traditional media (outlets) because they are a much bigger business than they are aware of,” said Urbanspoon co-founder Adam Doppelt, who has since left the company and now runs the startup Dwellable.

He’s been impressed with Urbanspoon’s recent growth, calling it a “juggernaut.”

The latest TV ad will run for the next seven weeks in Seattle, highlighting Urbanspoon’s mobile reservation system.

Take a look at the ad and let us know what you think.

Urbanspoon – “SUSHI SPOT” from Stephen Leeds / SLC on Vimeo.

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