Wal-Mart Stores agency GSD&M, Austin, Texas, has been named first agency of record for Walmart.com, the joint venture of Wal-Mart and venture capital firm Accel Partners. Walmart.com went dark last week for remodeling for an unspecified period. Last year, Wal-Mart's site failed to complete its update in time for the holidays; when the site relaunched in January, it was less robust than consumers and Wall Street analysts had expected. Billings were undisclosed.
P&G revamps corporate site to add friendlier face
Procter & Gamble Co. launched an overhaul of its corporate PG.com Web site that spotlights new market research and e-commerce sections. A Help Us Create New Products section channels visitors into interactive sessions where they can offer ideas for new products or improving existing ones. Consumers also can register to be on advisory boards to provide ongoing input into P&G market research.
The revamped site incorporates content of P&G's existing Innovation Location site, where consumers can buy products still in test as a way to build buzz before they're launched nationally. The home page includes an improved search engine and pull-down menus for other P&G sites, plus a link to MoreThanA-Card.com, a site P&G launched this summer offering themed $25 gift baskets of P&G and non-P&G products.
A P&G spokeswoman said the site changes were tested and positively received by online focus groups of retirees, recruits, investors and other site users. P&G is promoting the re-launch through shareholders and tie-ins with its other branded sites as well as publicity efforts, but not advertising.
Greenfield Online takes wireless to farm fields
Researcher Greenfield Online this month will expand wireless options with its QuickTake (www.quicktake.com) service, which allows marketers to conduct fast, automated surveys. Already available on Palm Inc.'s Palm VII wireless digital organizer, QuickTake also will appear on two-way pagers and mobile phones. Greenfield has lined up an agricultural client that plans to distribute two-way pagers to farmers who can respond to simple surveys from the field.
Urban Box Office Network rolls out advertising salvo
Urban Box Office Network (www.ubo.net) launches its first ad campaign Oct. 15. UBO is a network of 11 sites that appeal to urban teens and twentysomethings. Created by UBO's in-house agency, Ad Mindset, the effort includes print ads running in Vibe magazine and outdoor ads running in 10 cities. UBO's investors include Chase Capital, Flatiron Partners and Quetzal Partners.
`Teen Magazine' links users for commerce
November issues of Emap's Teen Magazine, which hit newsstands Oct. 10, will contain the publication's first program to drive readers to its site (teenmag.com). Using UltiMedia software from Ultigo, Teen will direct users how to buy 16 products listed on pages marked with a Ultigo symbol. Users can search for products through a store locator application.
`U.S. News,' Spun.com back CraniaMania
CraniaMania (www.craniamania.com), a site offering free academic contests, today unveils its first sponsors: U.S. News & World Report and Spun.com, a site that allows users to swap CDs, DVDs, and videogames for free. CraniaMania's Current Events contest will contain international news culled from U.S. News & World Report. CraniaMania's goal is to do product promotions and market research on its teen target audience.
MeasureCast partners with Interep and Katz
Streaming audience measurement company MeasureCast has partnered with media rep companies Katz Interactive Marketing and Interep Interactive in an effort to grow the streaming media industry by working with companies that sell ad time and space to advertisers. By using MeasureCast's Streaming Audience Measurement Service, streaming media sales forces from Katz and Interep can offer advertisers next-day audience size and demographic data to help them make educated and targeted ad placements.
Internet ad spending grew only 8.8% from the first quarter to the second, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau`s report issued last week. The second-quarter total was $2.1 billion, up 75% from the same period in 1999. The most recent second quarter included the fall from grace of dot-com stocks and a pullback in marketing spending. The report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed total Internet spending hit $4.1 billion for the first half of this year, not far from the $4.6 billion total for all of last year. The IAB said it expects Internet spending to reach $8 billion in 2000. . . . Ad management company DoubleClick reached agreement to purchase e-mail marketing company NetCreations in a $191 million stock transaction set to be completed by the fourth quarter. The merger would provide marketers with a combined list of 22 million permission-based e-mail names and addresses.
Chat. . .
Chat doesn't happen: Procter & Gamble Co. has turned down the sizzle on Swizzle, the controversial U.K. Web site it launched this spring in cooperation with Excite U.K. A posting on the site announces that message boards and chat rooms have been temporarily closed. The site's Relationships section has also been removed, and Excite's name no longer appears. A P&G spokesman could not be reached for comment at press time. P&G President-CEO A.G. Lafley is expected to address the issue of managing online and traditional businesses with consistent principles when he speaks to the Association of National Advertisers Conference on Oct. 14.