JWT/Online, an operating group within the agency, will look for ways for all JWT clients to use the new technology, expected to be available to the public in September.
TV Answer is a device, similar in size to a video-cassette recorder, that attaches to a TV and, by means of a wireless radio transmission system, makes TV programming interactive. Among its initial offerings will be direct response to advertising, home shopping and games that tie into real programming. For example, football fans can play along with an NFL telecast by charting a team's plays. Depending on how well the fan's gameplan matches the real action, the armchair quarterback could qualify for awards and prizes.
Services such as home banking will be offered through the service as well. The only monthly service fees charged would be for those that customers buy. TV Answer also will have a channel-organizing capability, which, for example, can cluster sports programming, movies, sitcoms, etc., by category according to the consumer's tastes.
Other agency partners include Wunderman Cato/Johnson; Burkhardt & Christy Advertising and Rapp Collins Marcoa. According to vp-advertising Tom MacLeod, agency alliances are being forged largely based on client interest. 'We identified clients who we thought would be interested in this technology, and the alliances have fallen into place,' he said.
Ford was an early participant in alternative media such as Prodigy, the personal-computer based information/entertainment system. About TV Answer, JWT vice chairman for agency operations Peter Schweitzer, who runs the Ford business, said, 'We have previously provided Ford with many strikingly successful interactive marketing opportunities, but TV Answer may prove to be among the most promising.'
Separately, TV Answer is holding a review for an agency of record of its own, which it expects will be decided by next month. Billings were not disclosed.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)