DDB NEEDHAM

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DDB Needham Worldwide is wasting no time figuring out a compensation formula for its interactive work.

In one of the more entrepreneurial agency interactive efforts, the agency has established a "mutual fund" for marketers.

For $25,000 a year, clients can sign on to receive and share research findings, industry updates and information on their own and others' test participation.

"It will allow all of our clients-or those that come from outside and want to be part of this-to share in what is learned together," said Page Thompson, exec VP-media director at DDB Needham, New York. "A lot of them don't want to go and spend $2 million in interactive test beds. This allows them to share the learning at a much lower cost."

Mr. Thompson and Pat Hoffman, VP-director of strategic resources, are the agency's point people on interactive in New York; Exec VP-Director of Media Michael White and Senior VP-Group Media Director Wes Dubin oversee the Chicago office's role.

The agency has made presentations to clients including Olympus Corp., GTE and the Bermuda Department of Tourism and at least three marketers have signed on to date, including Helene Curtis Industries.

An interactive in-flight test with one client is expected to make a January debut. The agency also is pitching a CD-ROM travel project-where consumers could take "tours" of certain countries-to Princess Hotels, Seiko Corp., Michelin Tire Corp. and Amtrak.

DDB has a deal with PIC Previews, a kiosk company, for client kiosks in K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Nobody Beats the Wiz. Working with Intouch Group, the agency is looking at placing interactive kiosks in record stores for a consumer electronics client, possibly NEC Technologies.

"We have really started to push the envelope on this thing," Mr. Thompson said. "We're definitely in play."

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