The timing of the breakup is auspicious for the online services company, which has undergone wrenching changes in the first two quarters of 1996. Under President Ed Bennett, the company executed a successful management buyout from 50-50 parents IBM Corp. and Sears, Roebuck, & Co., and is moving forward with a rebranding strategy to relaunch two brands: Prodigy Internet and Prodigy Classic.
Its new parent, Cambridge, Mass.-based International Wireless, is said to be helping Prodigy move toward more international content.
Earlier this year Prodigy executives told Advertising Age that a new round of advertising will support the fourth-quarter launch of Prodigy Internet, which will appear on hard drives of 95% of domestically distributed computers from at least six computer companies (including IBM Corp. and Packard Bell). In April Mr. Bennett said his company would consider looking beyond Cliff Freeman for the launch assignment.
Agency Chairman-CEO Cliff Freeman was traveling and could not be reached for comment. During 1995 his agency created award-winning campaigns in TV and print for Prodigy, such as the bus driver spots that showed actor Barry White and other celebrities.
Copyright July 1996 Crain Communications Inc.