WHAT'S HOT IN INTERACTIVE MARKETING? MODEM MEDIA TALLIES THE BEST AND WORST AND WHAT'S TO COME

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Some say 1994 will be the year interactive marketing truly takes hold. But those that tried it in 1993 can expect their every move to come under the microscope.

Modem Media, a Westport, Conn., interactive advertising agency, has issued its 1993 GMies (named after General Partner Gerald M. O'Connell), honoring-and sometimes lambasting-last year's notable interactive marketing efforts.

"There's so much hype out there that people need to know what's real and what isn't," Mr. O'Connell said. "It's our chance to say what we think without offending anybody. We hope."

Among the best of 1993:

Bubble Yum bubble gum's virtual reality mall tour, winner of the Timothy Leary Youth Award for "a three-minute mind-bending adventure inside a neat virtual reality game. Blow their minds and the bubbles will follow."

America Online and the ImagiNation Network, which split the Jason's Mask Don't Ever Leave Anything for Dead Award for online excellence. Both services are expected to grow dramatically this year.

Barry Diller, who gets the Brink's Trophy for Unsurpassed Ability to Generate Paper Profits "for putting QVC's multiple into the stratosphere."

Nickelodeon's Slime Time Sweepstakes, winner of the Look Ma, No Hands Award for a promotion in which kids used videophones in McDonald's stores to talk to the cable network and have a chance to win Sega gear.

But not everyone measured up:

Coca-Cola Co. was given the Please Hang Up and Try Your Call Again Citation for committing "teletedium" in its fall Monsters of the Gridiron 800-number promotion.

Interactive Network's hiring of Peter Sealey as its president netted the company the They Must Know Something I Don't Trophy, in a tie with Eon Corp., the much-delayed interactive service formerly called TV Answer. Both companies overlay text onto conventional TV programming.

And lastly, the entire national press gets the Joey Buttafuoco Award for Unabashed Hyperbole "for its coverage of the so-called electronic superhighway."

What's in store for 1994?

"We anticipate seeing more substance this year. I think you're going to see a lot more mainstream companies not only testing this stuff but starting to center their campaigns around it," Mr. O'Connell said.

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