MSN Spotlights Best and Brightest in Online Advertising

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2003 — Expanding its commitment to offering high-impact online marketing opportunities, the MSN®
network of Internet services on Wednesday celebrated the best creative advertising content to appear on its network of Web sites over the past year. First-place winners in three categories — Branding, Direct Response and Rich Media — each received $10,000 and a crystal butterfly, and were among 11 ad campaigns honored at the 1st annual MSN Online Advertising Award Show.

“These awards help us create stronger relationships with advertising agencies as we work together to encourage the industry’s leading talents to stretch the boundaries of creative advertising online,”
said Joanne Bradford, chief media revenue officer for MSN.
“Combined with our efforts to provide marketers with access to the best online audience, environment and interactive opportunities, these awards demonstrate the commitment of MSN to making our network a great place to advertise.”

In front of a festive crowd at Manhattan’s Man Ray restaurant, Bradford announced the winners and runners-up in each of three categories:

  • Branding First Place: atmosphereBBDO for a General Electric ad that extended the notion that
    “every great idea begins with a sketch”
    by allowing consumers to operate a virtual pen on a virtual sketch pad and send their creation to a friend via e-mail. Second Place: Digitas LLC for an American Express ad that featured floating yellow sticky notes that appeared to attach themselves to the consumer’s computer screen. Honorable Mention: DraftDigital and Tribal DDB Dallas.

  • Direct Response — First Place: Lowe New York for a Dell ad that promoted a free-shipping offer. Second Place: Digitas for a GMC Trucks ad for a sweeps campaign. Honorable Mention:; Nexium

  • Rich Media — First Place: Euro RSCG Circle for an ad that provided consumers with sizing information and fitting tips for New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. Second Place: Catalano Lellos & Silverstein for an ad for the
    “Giant Monsters”
    television show on the Discovery Network’s
    “Animal Planet.” Honorable Mention: atmosphereBBDO

A panel of MSN sales and marketing managers, under the direction of online marketing expert Rex Briggs, of Marketing Evolution, reviewed nearly 140 entries, selecting the winners based on three criteria: creative execution, innovative marketing tactic or use of technology, and effectiveness of the ad in achieving the client’s business results while it ran on MSN. More details and the winning ads can be found at .

Agencies Praise MSN for Support of Online Marketing

Each of the first-place winners received a check for $10,000, a plaque detailing the award category and a crystal butterfly trophy. Second-place winners each received $5,000 and a crystal trophy.

The winners thanked MSN for the prizes and for the network’s dedication to building online marketing.

“New Balance has understood the power of interactive marketing since the concept began,”
said Arthur Ceria, creative director at Euro RSCG Circle.
“From a Web site that is a repeat destination for the serious athlete to this latest creative execution, the New Balance vision challenges us to raise the bar each time.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to be honored with this $10,000 prize, but what’s more significant is MSN’s dedication to providing merchandising opportunities that generate far more dollars than the award itself,”
said Kristen Freer, senior vice president and media director at Lowe New York.

“Fit is the essence of our brand,”
said Paul Heffernan, executive vice president of Global Marketing at New Balance.
“This ad has been one of the key drivers in our online marketing mix that leads consumers to find out more about our high-performance products and get properly fit by a retailer.”

MSN Announces Second Annual Creative Contest

All entries for this year’s awards appeared on MSN sites between July 1, 2002, and May 31, 2003. At the awards show, MSN also announced that it will hold a Second Annual MSN Creative Contest in 2004 and will announce more specific contest details this fall.

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. MSN 8 is the first Internet software product to have earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at . MSN worldwide sites are located at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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