Prodigy taps ad sales exec

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After a five-month search, Prodigy Services Corp. has named Dan Desmet, 40, to the post of VP-ad sales responsible for overseeing interactive advertising sales into Prodigy Internet and Prodigy Classic. Mr. Desmet was formerly senior VP-ad sales at Interactive Imaginations, New York, and replaces Scott Schiller, who left Prodigy in September to become VP-marketing and ad sales at Sony Online.

Mr. Desmet said he has two priorities at Prodigy. "I have to make some determinations about where we're going with our current sales representation," he said, referring to Prodigy's longstanding relationship with TeleRep, New York, which will be up for renewal at the end of March. Interactive Imaginations had worked in the past with Softbank Interactive Marketing, but ended that relationship last week. Mr. Desmet he said he will continue to consider repping as an option for Prodigy, but that no details of the TeleRep relationship had been ironed out beyond March at this point.

"Another area that's important to me and will be to our advertisers has to do with the back office," he said. "We're looking at some ad management systems right now." He said he will talk to companies that license ad software such as NetGravity in the coming weeks.

At Interactive Imaginations, Mr. Desmet worked with other sales staffers to encourage advertisers to use full-screen creative on interactive game Riddler. The company will expand that concept to its other online properties in coming weeks. He also played a major role in cultivating online advertising efforts for a forthcoming "Name that Tune" game, for which an entertainment company is expected to sign a sponsorship deal.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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