News in Brief

AOL gets hip to IM marketing
December 1, 2003

AOL gets hip to IM marketing

Want to get in on the ground floor of instant-message marketing, but don’t know where to begin? Well, digital media monolith AOL might be a good starting point. The Dulles, Virginia-based company is running a two-month pilot program through to the end of the year that will test effectiveness and user response to video- and audio-enabled ads placed at the top of its AIM ‘Buddy List.’ New Line Cinema is one of eight advertisers that signed up to dip into IM waters with a trailer for its Will Ferrell vehicle Elf that opened November 7. To avoid irking AIM’s roughly 30 million monthly users, only two ads will appear each day, and users will be able to stop, start, replay and enlarge the 15- to 30-second commercials at will. Since teens and 18- to 34-year-olds tend to IM most often in the afternoon and evening, AOL plans to offer youth advertisers a split daypart media-buying option.

Ragdoll seeks a few good underwriters

Ragdoll U.S. has hired New York-based marketing consulting firm The Leverage Group to help it secure corporate underwriters for Boobah. The 104 x 20-minute preschool show, which will hit PBS airwaves on January 19, aims to address social concerns about child obesity by encouraging kids to participate in goofy exercises and dances with its namesake characters. Ragdoll conducted a lot of research with kids ages three to six during the development phase of the project in order to get the show’s non-narrative-driven format right, and the result is, well… weird, but mesmerizing. (Editor’s note: I felt the same way about Teletubbies, and look what happened with it.)

Looney Tunes back in action at Burger King worldwide

As Warner Bros. gradually rolls Looney Tunes: Back in Action out internationally through March, Burger King will be supporting the film at the QSR level. The fast-food chain is running a Kids’ Meal program featuring six character-based toys created by Premium Surge this month in select Euro countries, the Middle East and Latin America. A U.K. version of the promo will play out in February. Burger King plans to back up the initiative in each territory with TV spots and in-store point-of-purchase displays.

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