Ask Jeeves Launches Marketing Program in Supermarkets

Natural language search engine Ask Jeeves launched a marketing program in the produce department of supermarkets across the country.

Grocery shoppers who are buying apples for an afternoon snack or their child’s lunch are likely to find apples bearing Ask Jeeves stickers featuring questions such as “Why is New York called the Big Apple?” and “How do I make homemade apple sauce?”

The new marketing program, which is designed to drive users to Ask Jeeves’ natural-language question answering service and promote apple consumption, is part of the company’s national branding campaign, including participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a partnership with Michael Ovitz’ Lynx Technology Group.

Ask Jeeves has partnered with the Fruit Label Co. and the California Apple Commission to label 15 million apples with stickers featuring the Ask Jeeves character, the Ask.com URL and questions related to apples. Spending was not disclosed.

“We want to let people know about the wealth of information available on the Web by highlighting our ability to answer questions that are relevant to people’s needs and interests,” said Ted Briscoe, senior vice president and general manager of Ask.com.

“We believe the apple campaign allows us to inform consumers as they go about their everyday tasks that Ask.com is a great source for answers. We look forward to the possibilities we’ll continue to roll out the program in 2000, labeling other fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and bananas.”

“This advertising campaign is unique because it involves an Internet company targeting a commodity — a very new approach,” said Irv Weinhaus, chief executive officer of The Fruit Label Co.

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