Ford and Unilever among first interactive ads on BIB

- British Interactive Broadcasting will launch to consumers under the new banner of Open....next spring and has lined up Coca-Cola, Ford and Unilever as the first advertisers to run interactive TV ads on the service.

- British Interactive Broadcasting will launch to consumers under the new banner of Open....next spring and has lined up Coca-Cola, Ford and Unilever as the first advertisers to run interactive TV ads on the service.

Open.... will offer digital TV viewers a range of interactive services such as shopping, banking, e-mail and interactive games and will be trailed to viewers from December. The first interactive services will be available to Sky Digital customers in the spring and Open....will be fully operational by the autumn, when the full marketing launch will kick-off.

Coke, Ford and Unilever have developed interactive ads which will run on Open..... Branded sites will be cross-linked with existing TV ads and will allow viewers to see more information about a product, order a brochure or sample and even make a purchase within seconds of seeing the product advertised.

According to Edwin Sharpe, Unilever's UK media manager, Unilever is committed to BIB's interactive developments "and to the wider opportunities of customer relationships created in this environment."

Open.... has also announced a raft of partners to provide interactive services on the Open...platform. Great Universal Stores, Iceland, Midland Bank, a new BT e-mail system called Talk 21, the computer games company, Visionik, and Woolworths will all be available through Open....

GUS will offer interactive home shopping for sports and leisure wear as well as footwear from well known brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok and Timberland.

Iceland, currently the only UK food retailer to offer nation-wide home delivery, will provide the first home grocery shopping service, while Woolworths will offer music, video and computer games.

Midland Bank will introduce home banking and interactive financial services, allowing consumers to check bank statements, change standing orders and pay bills.

James Ackerman, the chief executive of BIB, said: "Open.... will redefine television. It will transform television to give viewers greater control and an exciting new interactive experience."

BIB is a joint venture between BSkyB, BT, Midland Bank and Matsushita Electric.



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