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AOL Launches Circuit City, Target Promotions

AOL Time Warner is looking to promote New Line Cinema's upcoming "Austin Powers" installment, "Goldmember," as well as its own broadband offerings, through an online and offline promotion with Circuit City.

At the same time, New York-based AOL is tapping Target Stores for an additional effort to encourage signups to its America Online service.

With Circuit City and New Line -- which is an AOL subsidiary -- the media conglomerate is looking to build excitement around the film's studio's July 26 release with a contest that's giving away a 2002 Jaguar XK8 Convertible. AOL users can register for the contest at Keyword: Speed is Golden, or Web users can enter via the Web at speedisgolden.com. At each site, users will have to take a trivia quiz to be entered into the drawing for the car. Customers also receive an additional entry into the contest if they refer a friend.

Atlanta-area Circuit City stores also will promote the contest; consumers can register online at in-store Broadband Station. At the same time, Circuit City customers will be encouraged to register for the AOL service or the AOL High Speed Broadband service -- each customer who joins will receive a free DVD player.

Circuit City customers also will have access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes video footage from the making of the film, a free limited-edition Austin Powers book cover, and receive a $5 Circuit City gift card with the purchase the first two "Austin Powers" films.

With Minneapolis-based Target, AOL also is looking to incentivize users to sign up for its service. Up for grabs are 500 gift certificates, each worth $1,000. Every consumer who signs up for America Online using AOL CDs distributed by Target is eligible.

The sweepstakes will run through August 10. The effort comes as part of a two-year-old strategic alliance between Target and America Online. In addition to in-store promotions, the deal calls for promotion of target.com to America Online's users.

Tacoda Receives ABCi OK

The Audit Bureau of Circulations' ABCi unit will be able to audit enterprise marketing software provider Tacoda Systems, through a new agreement between the two firms.

New York-based Tacoda's technology enables e-commerce players and Web publishers to collect and integrate data about site visitors, customers and subscribers, which can be used to generate profiles suitable for targeted advertising efforts.

"We are confident that they will produce reliable audience data," said ABCi Chief Technical Officer Dick Bennett. "Through ABCi audits and verification, advertisers who buy audience segments produced by Tacoda Software will be assured of getting what they pay Web publishers for."

The agreement also means that multi-media publishers will be able to combine their ABCi-audited online audience numbers with their Audit Bureau of Circulations print circulation figures to capture and promote validated total on- and offline audiences.

"Tacoda is all about helping media companies realize the full value of their online audiences," said Tacoda Systems founder Dave Morgan. "To have ABCi validation for how we work is a very important step in helping the advertising community begin to embrace the Internet as a marketing medium that surpasses what traditional media has been able to deliver."

Rolling Hills, Ill.-based ABCi and Tacoda Systems will work together to market audits to Tacoda's customers and advertisers, the firms said.

Classmates.com to Launch TV Show

Classmates Online said it plans to launch a new television series, through a partnership with an entertainment producing company.

The Renton, Wash.-based Web play, known to many as one of the most prolific online advertisers, said it will create an episodic television series based on stories and experiences shared by the company's members.

In conjunction with Pipeline Entertainment's Matthew Papish -- who was involved with promoting the "reality TV" series "Blind Date" online, the Classmates series will be developed for either network television or first-run syndication, with an eye to a launch in 2003.

Borrowing from "Blind Date," the Classmates series will use elements of reality shows while also incorporating scripted segments of families, friends, co-workers and fellow military professionals meeting again.

The move would expand the firm's reach to numerous potential users, who must pay a fee to register for the service's enhanced features.

"Developing a television property reinforces Classmates online presence while extending our brand to millions of consumers in the offline world," said Classmates President and Chief Executive Michael Schutzler. "In addition to featuring real-life stories from Classmates' members, the series will show viewers how to make their own connections. Through a mix of stories and how-to advice we expect to see an increase in membership as viewers are inspired to reconnect with friends and family."

Classmates also said a recent survey indicated more than 43 percent of respondents said they were interested in watching a Classmates-branded television show.