Execs & Accounts for August 13, 2003

San Francisco-based digital agency AKQA has been tapped by Xbox and Microsoft Game Studios to develop online advertising campaigns for its line of game titles.

AKQA’s work will include campaigns for a number of anticipated holiday titles, including “Project Gotham Racing 2,” “Top Spin,” and “Grabbed by The Ghoulies” for Xbox, along with games for the PC such as “Age of Empires” and “Flight Simulator: Century of Flight.”

“AKQA brings a great understanding of our target audience and their creative online campaigns will resonate with gamers,” said Beth Featherstone, senior director of marketing for Microsoft’s Games Division.

The account was awarded after a review of several agencies. In addition to this new U.S. assignment, AKQA has previously handled digital communications for Xbox throughout Europe, serviced by AKQA London.

Desktop weather application Weatherbug picked up approximately 17 new advertisers in the first half of 2003. They include American Express, AOL, Cingular Wireless, Conde Nast Traveler, Imodium AD, Jeep, Wall Street Journal and Walt Disney World, among others.

The free weather app downloaded has now been downloaded by over 23 million people nationwide. During the first two quarters of 2003, WeatherBug says it’s posted revenue gains of 113 percent when compared to the same two quarters last year. During that time, its roster of advertisers grew by 39 percent, from 120 in January to 167 in June. WeatherBug is owned and operated by AWS Convergence Technologies.

Streaming video provider EyeWonder has hired Jason Scheidt as its new director of marketing. John Saltnes and Anthony Tramontana have also been brought on as director of West coast sales and director of Southeast sales, respectively.

Prior to joining EyeWonder, Scheidt spearheaded the repositioning strategy of Atlanta-based Media1st from an Internet media production and streaming house to an e-learning company.

Jason Saltnes was most recently a regional sales manager for MusicVision, selling Web media, e-mail, and sponsorships to agencies and clients. Prior to that he worked at 24/7 Media, supporting sites such as Mapquest, EarthLink, AT&T, and The Sporting News. Anthony Tramontana last worked at Akamai’s corporate headquarters in Boston and Atlanta.

Search and e-mail marketer Performics has won several new clients. The company has inked deals with Fossil, Harry and David, L.L. Bean, Motorola and Restoration Hardware, among others.

“Our growth has been spurred by three primary factors: new account acquisition, growth of existing client programs and accountability for marketing results,” said James Crouthamel, Performics’ founder, president and CEO.

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