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Real Media Founder Leaves to Start New Firm

Real Media co-chairman David Morgan said he plans to leave the ad network at the end of June, with the goal of starting a new online advertising company.

Morgan founded New York-based Real Media in May 1995, and served as president and chief executive officer until December 1999, when he assumed the position of chairman, and former Grey Interactive founder Chris Neimeth stepped in to run the firm. Since December 2000, Morgan has served as co-chairman.

Morgan is credited with growing Real Media from a five-person start-up to a major online advertising sales and technology firm, with 420 employees in 25 offices in 17 countries and annual sales approaching $60 million, according to the company.

"Dave Morgan was the chief architect of what Real Media has become," said Walter Annasohn, who assumed the post of president and CEO last December. "Not only did he direct the development of the online ad industry's finest ad server products, but it was Dave's vision and initiative that grew Real Media's reputation with the media community as the sales rep company that was most reliable, easiest to work with and that assured consumer privacy. It is with great reluctance we bid him farewell as co-chairman, but we look forward to his continued involvement as a shareholder and advisor."

Morgan will remain the company's largest individual shareholder. Swiss print ad rep giant PubliGroupe is the company's majority shareholder. U.S. publisher Advance Publications is also a major investor in the privately held company.

"PubliGroupe supported Real Media almost from the day we opened the door," Morgan said. "It is always difficult to leave a company and people that loomed so large in one's professional and personal life, but PubliGroupe has provided Real Media not only the financial stability to grow and prosper, but the right management team that assures me I leave the company in excellent hands."

A spokesman for Morgan said he was releasing little information about his new venture, which is in "stealth" mode until its launch in summer. According to the spokesman, it will focus on "helping solve some of the key challenges facing the online advertising industry, specifically, working with online publishers to create more value for advertisers and marketers with audience data."

The new venture will be "complementary" to Real Media's business, the spokesman said.

Microsoft Taps USATODAY.com for "Takeover" Ads

As part of the advertising campaign in support of its new Office XP launch this week, Microsoft Corp. bought "takeover" inventory on several USATODAY.com pages.

The effort -- which ran Thursday, the day of the XP launch -- takes inventory on four USATODAY.com section pages: Money, Sports, Life and Tech.

In the execution, an animated pencil scribbles "Don't lose your temper at work" near the top of the page, obscuring the section heading. That message is followed with "Office XP with Document Recovery."

The pencil then reappears halfway down the screen in a mid-screen ad unit, where the message "Experience it for yourself. Announcing Microsoft Office XP" appears.

The USATODAY.com campaign was complemented by a four-page pullout ad in the Money section of Thursday's edition of USA TODAY.

Cingular Wireless Selects Ant Farm Interactive as Online CRM Agency

Wireless giant Cingular Thursday has appointed Ant Farm Interactive as its agency of record for online customer relationship management.

Cingular tapped the Atlanta-based interactive marketing communications firm to provide a "fun and creative way for us to engage and interact with our customers," according to the carrier's customer communications director, Jane Ratliff. "Ant Farm Interactive has a history of highly creative executions. Their simple approach and solution for developing and executing an online CRM strategy, as well as an outstanding value, weighed heavily in their favor."

While Ant Farm Interactive will be the agency of record for Cingular's online CRM campaign, @tmosphere, a completely integrated digital branding agency, retains responsibility for driving the company's online media presence.

But Ant Farm's appointment represents Cingular's first effort to implement an online CRM strategy. Cingular said it would use online resources to provide an integrated communication vehicle to notify customers about relevant information, as well as improve customer retention and Cingular's chances at cross-selling.

The online CRM strategy should kick off by the end of June, Cingular said.

Wanamaker Associates, an Atlanta-based advertising consultancy and search firm, assisted in the review.

G+J USA to Publish Digital:Convergence Codes

Print- and TV-to-Web firm Digital:Convergence has a new magazine publisher for its barcodes: G+J USA. The publisher of Rosie, Family Circle and YM said those and four other of its publications will feature the Dallas-based firm's codes, which link to a relevant Web site address.

Users scan the codes with the company's :CueCat handheld scanner, which is available for free at RadioShack and through G+J magazine Web sites.

Rosie began featuring the codes last month in conjunction with articles and ads; the rest of G+J's publications should be :CueCat-enabled by fall, the companies said.

G+J USA is 25.1 percent owned by the Jahr Group and 74.9 percent owned by Bertelsmann.