IAR Bits and Bytes

Yahoo! Debuts Purina IM Skin, Eagles Tour Promo

Web portal Yahoo is unveiling the latest in its series of Instant Messenger skins for advertisers — this time for Nestle Purina.

The two Purina IMVironments available for users to download show either animated cats or dogs in the background of Yahoo! Instant Messenger, with the brand’s logo displayed in the window.

Yahoo! has also done work for E*Trade , Sega of America, and the film “National Lampoon’s ‘Van Wilder'”.

This effort comes as part of a years-long marketing relationship between Nestle Purina and Yahoo!.

The IMVironments will be promoted on Purina Web sites, as well as in the Yahoo! Insider welcome window, the Yahoo! Messenger IMVironments Gallery pages, and throughout Yahoo! pet-related communities

In addition to the new IMVironments, Nestle Purina announced two co-branded versions of the Yahoo! Messenger application — promoting Purina Puppy Chow and Cat Chow. The applications are available at www.puppychow.com or www.catchow.com.

In addition to messenging, the Purina Puppy Chow and Purina Cat Chow applications feature links to informational pages on pet nutrition and exercise available on Yahoo! Pets, as well as on the pet food brands’ Web sites.

In other Yahoo! marketing news, the company said it would promote the upcoming summer tour of classic rockers The Eagles. In conjunction with the Eagles’ “Summer Tour 2002” promoter Concerts West, an Anschutz Entertainment Group company, the site plans to make advance tickets available for several upcoming concerts at a special co-branded site, eagles.yahoo.com.

Yahoo! said it would be promoting the pre-sale extensively across its network, including the Yahoo! home page and through sites affiliated with the portal’s LAUNCH network of music sites.

Additionally, Yahoo! said it would enter customers into a sweepstakes for front-row seats to a concert. The Web portal also said its Yahoo! Auctions site would auction off autographed Eagles guitars and CDs, to benefit charities.

Return Path Strikes Alliances

New York-based E-mail Change of Address (ECOA) firm Return Path has new alliances in place with two marketers.

The deals with Catalog Marketing Services and e-Dialog will promote Return Path’s services to direct and e-mail marketers, serviced by the two firms.

Both St. Paul, Minn.-based CMS and Lexington, Mass.-based e-Dialog have integrated Return Path ECOA into their database platforms, meaning that they can now offer their clients seamless access to the e-mail change of address services.

Spiderdance to “Hibernate” Until Market Improves

Interactive TV player Spiderdance said it planned to move into a “hibernation mode” until the U.S. market for iTV services improves.

Essentially, the move will shut down the Venice, Calif.-based firm’s day-to-day operations and lay off all but the firm’s four principals. The company said that investors backed the move and were assisting in the transition.

“This decision allows us to preserve the company’s technology and intellectual property,” said Chief Executive Steven Hoffman. “As soon as television networks and [Multiple Service Operators] start spending on interactive TV shows, our core team will step back into the market and resume business as usual.”

The company had powered synchronized TV-to-Web application for networks including General Electric’s NBC, Viacom’s MTV, and AOL Time Warner’s the WB and TBS. Many of those contracts expired only recently.

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