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Buick Signs on as Exclusive Sponsor

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NEW YORK ( America Online has signed General Motors Corp.'s Buick as the exclusive sponsor for a series of Desperate Housewives video recaps it began offering online this week.
'Desperate Housewives' recaps are being offered on AOL's broadband 'Television' section.

The deal is an extension of the Buick's advertising campaign in the TV version of Desperate Housewives. Buick declined to say how much it is paying for the new AOL online placements.

AOL broadband
The new video feature and sponsorship deal is AOL's latest effort to promote itself as a major broadband player. The troubled online service grew to prominence as a dial-up service and initially lagged behind other portals in adopting to broadband.

It is now battling to re-establish its identity to compete with services such as Yahoo in the use of online video that has greatly increased in popularity as consumers rapidly install broadband home connections. Broadband video capabilities have also emerged as a key to attracting certain kinds of premium advertisers online.

Yahoo, for instance, offers video clips from the NBC hit reality show The Apprentice on its video section as part of a branded-entertainment deal through which Yahoo and Yahoo's advertisers are promoted.

Shortened TV commercials
AOL's 23-second ads for the Buick LaCrosse will run just before the video clips roll each Monday morning following the Sunday evening's Housewives episode. The online ads are shortened versions of Buick TV commercials.

The LaCrosse ads are part of an ongoing relationship with the ABC series, which also includes in-show product placements of Buick models. The LaCrosse was featured last season in an episode in which Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) had to return to modeling and then found a job plying her talent in a Buick showroom.

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