IAR Bits and Bytes

AOL, Blockbuster Reprise “You’ve Got Mail” Contest

America Online aims to turn one of the Internet generation’s most-recognizable catchphrases — “You’ve Got Mail” — into a promotional tool for home video and DVD giant Blockbuster, Inc.

During May, AOL will tap the voices of TV, movie sports and music celebrities to say “You’ve Got Mail” when AOL users log on, and if a user correctly guesses the identity, they could win a prize.

Participants who name the celebrity are entered into a drawing for one of three Mazda Miata Roadsters, or one of 12 trips to the 2002 Blockbuster Movie Awards in Los Angeles, as well as a Blockbuster Value Card for a year’s worth of free weekly movie rentals.

A new celebrity voice will be featured every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The promotion reprises the first AOL Celebrity “You’ve Got Mail” promotion in 1997, which featured the voices of celebs including Mick Jagger, Rosie O’Donnell, and Mike Myers. That promotion resulted in millions of new visitors to AOL, the company said.

In addition to house ads on the AOL service, the contest will be promoted through in-store displays at Blockbuster.

AOL Moviefone.com also will feature celebrity versions of Moviefone’s own chipper greeting, “Hello, and welcome to AOL Moviefone.” The Moviefone site will provide a link to a “You’ve Got Mail” contest site, allowing Moviefone.com users to enter the contest.

In addition to Blockbuster, Mazda and Moviefone, contest partners include People.com, Teenpeople.com, and EW.com, who will provide content connected to the contest.

BestBuy.com Debuts CD Promotion

Best Buy’s Internet store aims to promote its online music store through a contest it’s dubbing “The ABCs of Rock.”

The gist of the promotion is this: beginning this week, BestBuy.com will spotlight a famous musician with an on-site biography, images and trivia — a different musical act each day, for each letter of the alphabet. AC/DC will begin the contest, followed by The Beatles and Eric Clapton. The info is accompanied by offers for the group or artist’s CDs.

The musicians’ information is provided through RollingStone.com — which receives signage and links on BestBuy.com.

Ant Farm Interactive Taps Avesair

Wireless technology play Avesair will be working with interactive agency Ant Farm Interactive through a new partnership announced Monday.

The Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Avesairs, which provides advertising and commerce technology to mobile data and voice carriers, will become a preferred partner of Ant Farm Interactive.

Ant Farm Interactive said it would use Avesair’s technology to help its wireless carrier clients create advertising and e-commerce products.

Wink Signs Thane

Wink Communications will add interactive television advertising features to direct response TV promos from Thane International, through terms of a new deal announced Monday.

According to the deal, Alameda, Calif.-based Wink will provide iTV enhancements to Thane’s :30 and :60-second spots, and long-form “infomercials.” Thane advertises and markets a variety of products for clients, including the “Ab-Doer”, “Bio-Slim” and “Play Guitar Overnight.”

With Wink’s enhancements, digital TV customers can immediately request additional information or even order products using their remote control.

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