PAC BELL TOUTS SUPERHIGHWAY IN NEW TV ADS; MULTIMEDIA PATENT PROCESS SCRUTINIZED; CHRYSLER CONDUCTS 1ST INTERACTIVE TEST; OTHER NEWS

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Pac Bell touts superhighway

in new TV ads

Pacific Bell broke a new ad campaign during the Super Bowl touting its plans for an interactive superhighway. Pacific Bell plans to offer video on demand, home shopping, videogames and other fare to 5 million customers by the end of the decade. Three 30-second and three 60-second spots feature the voices of Pac Bell employees describing the California Baby Bell's plans for the future. The spots, from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, end with the tagline "The Pacific Bell communications superhighway-it's real, California." The campaign replaces a touchy-feely effort tagged "Good enough isn't."

Multimedia patent process scrutinized

In response to a flap over a broad multimedia patent granted last year, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will soon send to Congress a bill to open up the patent process to outside input. The bill would make re-examination of patents easier, Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman told a San Jose, Calif., hearing on software patents last week. Early witnesses, including Tom Lopez of the Interactive Multimedia Association, urged keeping software patents but called for publication of patent applications before approval. Douglas Brotz, chief scientist at Adobe Systems, opposed software patents, citing costs in time and money. Compton's NewMedia, which ignited the controversy last year with a patent on basic interactive technology, attended the hearing but did not testify.

Chrysler conducts 1st interactive test

Chrysler Corp. linked up with Interactive Network, Sunnyvale, Calif., to test recall of its three Super Bowl spots for the new Neon. After the game, IN asked subscribers where the Neon will be sold, how much it will it cost and what the ad tagline is. The ads themselves weren't interactive. Chrysler ran promotional messages on IN's system urging subscribers to watch the Neon spots, a Chrysler spokesman said, adding that Chrysler isn't ready to do a full interactive spot because of the small audience size.

Other news:

Compton's NewMedia named William E. Perrault, 38, VP-worldwide marketing, a post vacant for several months. Mr. Perrault, formerly VP-marketing at Columbia TriStar Home Video, will oversee Compton's CD-ROM efforts in consumer-oriented areas such as music and entertainment. .*.*. Bob Jacquemin resigned as president of Buena Vista Television, apparently to head a new interactive TV project.

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