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AOL and Coca-Cola launch sweepstakes for teens

America Online and Coca-Cola Co. launched a teen-targeted online sweepstakes July 1. The in-house-created effort parallels Coca-Cola's offline promotion that launched in May in which consumers who buy multipacks of Coke can win prizes of $100 to $1 million, as well as walk-on roles in Universal Pictures movies.

The online sweepstakes runs through Aug. 15 on AOL's service. Promotional banners are running throughout AOL's Teen Channel; teens can click on the banners to enter a random drawing for a chance to win prizes.

Unilever sends Caress to @tmosphere's zone

Unilever's Caress picked @tmosphere Interactive, the New York interactive subsidiary of BBDO, New York, to handle a multimillion-dollar online assignment for the brand's shower, bath and lotion products. The assignment involves a promotional tie-in with MTV's "Total Request Live" program. Among other duties, @tmosphere will develop every-other-week e-newsletter Idol Talk, create a Caress Web site and place advertising on portals such as iVillage and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.

BBDO, New York, has handled Unilever since 1949 and the Caress brand since 1972. While Caress has advertised online before, this is the brand's largest online initiative to date. It is designed to present Caress as a more contemporary brand to younger women.

Wall Street snubs merger of Media Metrix, Jupiter

Shares of Media Metrix and Jupiter Communications continued to fall last week following Media Metrix's agreement to buy the Internet research company.

Media Metrix's stock traded at a 52-week low, below $21, after it announced its plans to acquire Jupiter. The stocks fell despite analysts' statements that the merger is a potent one combining complementary companies.

The all-stock acquisition was initially valued at $414 million. The merged company, which would be called Jupiter Media Metrix, would have a market value of more than $1 billion, the companies said. The companies said they plan to keep separate brand services while cross-selling products; the two share about 200 clients.

Yahoo! to buy eGroups for $432 million in stock

Yahoo! agreed to buy eGroups in an

all-stock deal valued at $432 million. EGroups is an e-mail communications service for online communities. Yahoo! said it would integrate eGroups' services, which help people manage e-mail groups, across its properties, such as Yahoo! Clubs, Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger.

NetZero snatches online currency site RocketCash

Free Internet service provider NetZero agreed to buy RocketCash Corp., a Mountain View, Calif., company that allows teens to make online purchases without a credit card.

Under the terms of the deal, NetZero would issue about 5.6 million shares of stock for RocketCash. Based on Net-Zero's June 29 closing stock price, that would be worth about $36.5 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the fall. RocketCash users can pool promotional credits, checks, money orders, gift certificates or cash to make purchases through the RocketCash Currency Exchange. RocketCash said it has 110 e-tailers in its RocketCash Merchant Network, including Alloy Online, Amazon.com and Staples.

RocketCash rival PocketCard is also said to be in talks about a potential buyout.

F.Y.I.

America Online and Six Flags Theme Parks have struck a marketing deal under which AOL will be promoted through Six Flags parks, advertising and other offline channels. The companies will offer additional benefits to AOL members, which include ticket giveaways as well as discounts. Six Flags' Web site (sixflags.com) will be promoted across AOL's brands, which include CompuServe and Digital City. In addition, Six Flags will be integrated into AOL Moviefone's Summer Movie Fun Park as its official theme park sponsor. Six Flags will promote AOL, meanwhile, across its offline marketing channels, which include guidebooks to the various parks. AOL will sponsor certain rides and attractions at the theme parks, and Six Flags will promote AOL's keyword, Six Flags, in Six Flags TV advertising. . . . NetRatings, which runs the Nielsen/NetRatings Internet measurement service, has joined forces with Yahoo! to build a custom Internet panel for Yahoo! Fusion Marketing programs, the name of Yahoo!'s integrated marketing unit. Yahoo! users who agree to participate in the surveys will be asked their opinions about advertising campaigns running on Yahoo! from marketers or

e-commerce partners.

Chat. . .

Continental Airlines owns the URL continentalsucks.com. Continental also owns americansucks.com. Unitedsucks.com and deltasucks.com are owned by Secaucus Group, a Secaucus, N.J., collector of domain names that suck. (Secaucussucks.com is available, by the way.) . . . Name game: Are you a dot-com looking for a more dynamic name? A more expressive logo? A catchier tagline? Then check out eNormicom.com. Through its Image Bucket Program and Nametron 3000, the company says it employs "a complex system of algorithms and formulas to combine morphemes, phonemes and gigonemes to create a Singular Cohesive Action Moniker (S.C.A.M) for your company." Yes, that's S.C.A.M. -- as in scam. But hey, it could actually assist in finding "a best-of-breed name that conveys the essence of your brand's soul," as eNormicom puts it.

. . . Go big or go home: In the never-ending pursuit of grabbing the media's attention, advertising and public relations agency Ellenson Group, New York, recently sent new TV/VCRs to reporters in the hope that they would watch new TV spots that the agency created for Trellix, a software and services company. Nice idea, but most reporters are not allowed to accept gifts of that value. Ellenson Group's response? Give the TV/VCRs to charity.

. . . Is the e-mail marketing industry ripe for consolidation? That was the prediction of a database marketing agency executive after attending the Direct Marketing Association's 17th annual "Catalog Conference" last week. Commenting on the number of e-mail companies that had booths at the San Francisco show, the executive said, "There are at least 12 of them here and there aren't 12 of anything else."

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