General Magic Begins Web Campaign

Sunnyvale, CA-based General Magic Inc. has begun advertising its Portico virtual assistant service in a Web banner campaign.

The campaign began on the CNET Web site, and will expand shortly to the America Online and HotWired sites. Spending was not disclosed.

The Portico service, General Magic’s flagship product, lets subscribers access voice mail, email, calendar information, an address book and news and stock quotes, all through a single phone number or from a PC using a Web browser.

The new ads represent the first time the company has marketed its service via Web sites other than its own or those of its reseller partners. Users are offered a reduced price Portico subscription as well as a waiver of the $50 startup fee. The ads will run over the next six weeks.

“We chose the AOL, CNET and HotWired Web sites because of their name recognition, broad reach and popularity with mobile professionals, owners of small businesses, and people who work at home,” said Linda Hayes, senior vice president of marketing at General Magic.

The Internet ads highlight the increased efficiency Portico provides, while also drawing attention to the witty way in which the female voice personality interacts with users.

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