Sidewalk Announces Major Advertising Sponsors

REDMOND, Wash., March 3, 1997 — Sidewalk
, the personalized city guide to entertainment published by Microsoft Corp., today announced its initial regional and national advertising sponsors: Bank of America and Seafirst Bank, Barnes & Noble Inc., BMW of North America Inc., CitiBank, Club Med Sales Inc., Prudential Real Estate, United Airlines and Visa U.S.A., all leading consumer brands in their categories.

“We’re excited that these companies have joined Sidewalk to harness the strengths that the Internet offers to marketers,” said Frank Schott, publisher and general manager of Sidewalk. “These advertising sponsors understand that the Sidewalk content reaches residents as they’re about to go, see, do and spend, which gives advertisers exposure to these consumers at the right time, when they’re poised and ready to buy.”

Advertising sponsors will be featured prominently on Sidewalk city sites as they launch. The sponsorships combine traditional online advertising with on- and offline co-promotions that allow advertisers many opportunities to reach residents of each Sidewalk city with targeted, locally relevant messaging. “These value-adding opportunities are integral to the Sidewalk advertiser package and help us form strong alliances with our advertisers by helping them establish deeper relationships with their local customers,” Schott said.

Targeted Messaging

The goal and challenge of advertising is to reach target consumers in an efficient, effective and accountable way. Previously, advertisers had few options for reaching consumers in particular cities and tracking their ads’ impact and effectiveness. Now, through the power of the Internet, Sidewalk enables advertising sponsors to deliver their message, target consumers when they are ready to buy, and track how consumers are responding to their ads. With one point of contact, marketers can advertise to a geographically and culturally diverse audience, and target their messages to residents in each city. “Club Med is able to promote its most popular villages, create interest in new ones and offer specific area promotions for each Sidewalk city worldwide,” said Andrew Jordan, president, Club Med Sales Inc.

“Advertising on Sidewalk allows us a unique and specific way to offer local consumers easy access to information about home buying, selling and relocation opportunities in their communities,” said Lyle Fuller, vice president of interactive marketing, Prudential Real Estate. “And our relationship with Sidewalk gives our customers easy access to local entertainment information that will help them to get the most out of their cities. ”

Production costs for online advertisements are also far less expensive than for those featured in traditional media, giving advertising sponsors the flexibility to change their messages quickly and regularly.

“Barnes & Noble can now promote in-store events that are happening in our Seattle-area stores on the Seattle Sidewalk site, and events that are happening in our Manhattan-area stores on the New York Sidewalk site, and so on,” said David Hisbrook, vice president of marketing at Barnes & Noble. “And, as new events are added, our ads can change immediately. It’s a great way for us to maximize our marketing dollars and drive local store traffic.”

National advertising sponsors will be joined by local and regional sponsors that can buy ads for one Sidewalk city, or a region. “Bank of America and Seafirst can now target online advertisements in the various markets we serve. Sidewalk allows us to make one advertising buy, and still tailor our message to many different local markets,” said Karen Shapiro, vice president and Internet channel manager for Bank of America.

Improved Accountability

Sponsors that advertise on Sidewalk will also be able to evaluate the impact of their advertising dollars by gauging the performance of their advertising, test offers and messages. By providing sponsors with comprehensive, qualitative and quantitative data quickly, Sidewalk helps maximize their advertising dollars.

“The fact that Microsoft has been able to attract such blue-chip advertisers to its new Sidewalk service demonstrates that national advertisers are interested in tailoring their messages to local audiences,” said Peter Krasilovsky, vice president, Arlen Communications Inc. “It bodes well for the entire local online category, which is poised to take off.”

Sidewalk is the personalized city guide to entertainment, designed to help residents make better decisions about how to enjoy their free time and how to get out and experience their city. Sidewalk is scheduled to launch in Seattle in March, followed throughout the year by New York, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sydney, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Houston and Denver, with an expected total of 10 to 15 cities worldwide in 1997.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people

to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Sidewalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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