Execs and Accounts for December 13, 2002

Nextel has awarded its interactive media business to Mullen. The Wenham, Mass.-based agency’s initial account responsibilities will include interactive media strategy, planning, buying, tracking, stewardship and optimization.

“Digital media has come full circle. Smart advertisers want a holistic brand approach,” said Seana Mulcahy, director of interactive media at Mullen. “Building and protecting brands should not stop at offline, and Nextel is ahead of the curve in recognizing that. We’re thrilled Nextel has chosen us. It’s validation that Mullen truly is integrated.”

Mullen currently handles Nextel’s national brand and local promotional advertising. Nextel’s retail stores business is handled out of the agency’s North Carolina office.

Leo Burnett Worldwide’s CRM unit iLeo has hired Riccardo Zane as SVP and general manager of its North American operations. Zane joins iLeo from Leo Burnett/Toronto where he led the integration of the agency’s interactive, direct marketing and data services capabilities. He has developed Web sites for Four Seasons Hotels, Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, American Express and Visa.

“Riccardo combines classic marketing discipline with an emphasis on interactive, direct response, promotions and digital studio management services,” said iLeo North America CEO Peter Steinhauser. “That experience is of tremendous value as we continue to deepen our resources for clients who must use multiple channels to build strong customer relationships.”

Yesmail has added SmartBargains.com to its client roster. SmartBargains.com will use Yesmail’s YesConnect customer retention solution for targeting, personalization, triggered messaging and reporting. These features will let SmartBargains deliver personalized email messages using past purchase history and to target and segment audiences for email programs.

“Yesmail’s direct marketing and data management expertise made them the clear choice to support our email marketing program,” said Carl Rosendorf, president & CEO for SmartBargains. “Yesmail’s solution allows us to leverage our customer knowledge to deliver customized communication that is relevant to the shopping interests of each customer.”

MindComet has designed and developed an online game for the “Nextel/National Hockey League All-Star Challenge,” a national competition in which one fan will get the chance to shoot against Tampa Bay Lightning star goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for $250,000. The online component of the sweepstakes is a hockey-themed 3D game, available now on the NHL’s Web site, which enables fans to compete for a space on the leader board and a chance to win the January drawing for a trip to compete during NHL All-Star Weekend.

“We know that users respond to games much more positively than they do to banner ads or other forms of online advertising,” said Ted Murphy, president and CEO of MindComet. “Web-based 3D game content currently stands as one of the most effective forms of interactive advertising.”

Big brands and sports franchises are turning to online games to increase online and offline brand exposure and collect user data. The NHL Web game, available through December 2002, collects opt-in user registrations and demographic information as part of the promotion.

Commission Junction has added Dollar Rent A Car to its network of online marketers.

“Dollar is proud to be associated with the leading pay-for-performance company, Commission Junction,” said Charlie Coniglio, staff vice president of e-commerce, Dollar Rent A Car. “The Commission Junction model works perfectly for us. We only pay publishers for the actual time and mileage our customers book online.”

Dollar has has been an early adopter of several interactive media technologies, providing live online chat and enabling car reservations via wireless devices. Dollar said it receives more reservations via online channels than through any other distribution channel.

For more breaking news on account action and executive moves, visit ChannelSeven.com.

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