Wal-Mart Web push adds Lot21 to arsenal

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Wal-mart.com, following a yearlong restaging, is poised take on the holiday shopping season with online marketing assistance from Lot21 Interactive Advertising.

The online retailer picked the San Francisco i-shop last week to handle interactive advertising on a project basis. Details of the assignment, which begins in the fourth quarter and runs into 2001, were being finalized.

Lot21 ranked No. 51 in 1999 among U.S. i-shops with $9 million in revenue, according to Advertising Age Interactive 100.

The online ad push will re-introduce Wal-Mart.com to consumers. Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's No. 1 retailer, joined with venture capital company Accel Partners in January to spin off Wal-Mart.com. The Internet e-tailer then brought in Banana Republic executive Jeanne Jackson as CEO.

Wal-Mart.com also hired Sapient, Cambridge, Mass., to revamp its much-criticized Web site, designed by Cambridge Technology Partners, Cambridge, Mass. A Sapient spokeswoman said it was uncertain whether the revamped site for Wal-Mart.com would be ready by the holidays.

"This is an exciting time for Wal-Mart.com," said Lot21 President-CEO Kate Everett-Thorp. "They are working to make a significant push in the fourth quarter. They've taken really big steps. . . to start clean and fresh."

Ms. Everett-Thorp said ads will court Wal-Mart.com's target audience, "middle-class, wired people." Lot21 will work closely with Wal-Mart.com's offline agencies, GSD&M, Dallas, and Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, Mo., she said.

"We see the Wal-Mart.com relationship growing significantly over the next year," she added.


The Wal-Mart.com win is the most recent for independent Lot21, which won a number of new clients in the recent quarter. Others wins include marketing for Sega of America Dreamcast's Sega.com and Sega.net, the new moniker for the ISP for gamers; broadband advertising for Unilever's Axe cologne brand in the Netherlands; Time Inc.'s Time.com; and design, strategy, online ads and buying for the fall launch of travel service Hotwire.

"We're just really excited to be working with quality brands," Ms. Everett-Thorp said. "A lot of people were wondering [how] the stock market would affect online advertising. All these top brands coming online is a reflection of the commitment to online."

Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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