Execs and Accounts for March 7, 2003

Ten European publishers have come together to form an extension of the Online Publishing Association (OPA) in Europe. Founding members of OPA Europe are CNET Networks (Europe), Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso (Italy), Group Financial Times (Great Britain and France), IDM/La Vanguardia Digital (Spain), International Herald Tribune (Europe), Khatimerini (Greece), Le Monde interactif (France), Le Temps (Switzerland), Prismacom/el Pais (Spain) and Spiegel Online (Germany).

“Many of the challenges for quality online content providers transcend international borders,” said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the U.S.-based Online Publishers Association. “We look forward to extending the mission of the OPA through the formation of OPA Europe.”

Bruno Patino, CEO of Le Monde interactif, was elected president of the OPA Europe Board. Like its U.S. counterpart, OPA Europe will focus its efforts on enhancing the business climate for publishers by producing credible research into online advertising and media consumption.

McDonald’s has redesigned a section of its Web site that provides nutritional info, allowing customers to learn about the specific fat and nutrient content of the company’s food, and create specialized meal combinations.

Among the newly created tools are “Bag A McMeal,” in which site visitors can select up to five menu items and place them in a virtual bag. They will then get a calculation of the meal’s nutrition profile, such as the total number of calories, fat grams and various daily-required nutrients. The site also has some meal ideas which the company said were developed by nutritionists, and visitors can access a list of standard menu items that contain common food allergens.

“Our redesigned Food and Nutrition Web site reflects McDonald’s ongoing commitment to helping consumers meet their nutrition goals,” said Michael Donahue, VP Communications for McDonald’s USA. The revamped nutrition site is part of a larger effort by McDonald’s to project a healthier, trimmer image in an age when the fast food industry has come under fire for serving too much fat.

Digital agency Axis360 has launched a new site for Dale Earnhardt Inc. After a selection process, Dale Earnhardt Inc. chose Axis360 to design, build and maintain the much anticipated site. Axis360 said the Web presence was designed to be an “immersive experience that allows fans and corporate partners to experience the brand in a way specifically tailored to their interests.” Among its features are a virtual race car, streaming video feeds, an interactive pit stop viewer, and a Dale Earnhardt “memory wall.”

It’s the first Internet endeavor for the company that Dale and Teresa Earnhardt founded in 1982 to handle Dale’s marketing and licensing programs. Today, the company fields three successful NASCAR Winston Cup teams featuring star drivers Steve Park, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip; it also co-owns a NASCAR Busch Series team.

Discount travel site Hotwire has chosen Zedo for its Internet ad serving and publishing needs. Hotwire will use Zedo both for advertising on its own site and for Hotwire campaigns that run elsewhere on the Web.

“We chose Zedo for both our ad service business and publishing, and we are pleased with their results and support,” said Ty Shay, Hotwire’s VP of marketing.

For more breaking news on account action and executive moves, visit ChannelSeven.com.

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