Heinz has become the first company to install Living Products technology on the Internet.
Developed by Newton, Mass.-based Zoesis Studios, Living Products are computer-generated interactive characters that appear to have genuine feelings and the ability to "bond" with Web surfers.
The Heinz site, www.ezsquirtland.com, features the colorful, cartoon-style adventures of Purple, the EZ Squirt ketchup bottle, and Red, his female sidekick. The characters appear in various landscapes and play games. The EZ Squirt ketchups are marketed for children and are available in colors such as purple, green and red.
"Advertisers are moving away from banner ads and toward product placement in online experiences," said Joseph Bates, co-founder and president of Zoesis Studios. "We make the product itself the focus of interaction. With this approach, people fall in love with the products, not with the experiences."