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DMB&B basically bought its way into the interactive age, but deserves credit for making a smart purchase.

New York-based D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in June acquired Einstein & Sandom, a decade-old multimedia agency run by President-Creative Director J.G. Sandom.

Within weeks after the deal was announced, Mr. Sandom met with D'Arcy clients Hyatt International Corp., General Motors Corp. and Southwestern Bell Corp. to discuss potential projects.

D'Arcy already had an informal in-house interactive task force as well as AdVista Group, a technology unit that catalogs advertising information about clients and their competitors that can be called up through PCs equipped with CD-ROM drives.

"The DMB&B task force helps educate the corporate culture and keep the worldwide network apprised of what's going on," Mr. Sandom said. "We're still working in concert with them."

Currently, Einstein & Sandom is developing interactive projects for D'Arcy clients and non-clients, including the Federal National Mortgage Association; Citicorp, for which it's creating online and kiosk banking services; Canon, for interactive office machine applications; and BellSouth. The company is also developing interactive entertainment programming for CD-ROMs and is looking at creating content for several two-way TV tests.

"We've looked at Bell Atlantic's and Time Warner's specifically, but we're not making any commitments to one, nor do we think that just because one exists that a client should plunk down $200,000," Mr. Sandom said. "We don't see test beds being major revenue generators anytime soon."

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