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Mitsubishi Issues Web 'Thrill Ride Challenge'

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NEW YORK Mitsubishi Motors said it would break an online ad campaign next week that drives Yahoo visitors to a branded interactive game.

The campaign, the first work for Mitsubishi done by Omnicom Group-owned shop Organic, is set to break June 15, to promote the Mitsubishi 2006 Eclipse. All day on June 15, Mitsubishi will occupy the two prominent banner ad units on Yahoo's home page. Using rich media technology from Eyeblaster, the ad will have an Eclipse drive across the user's screen from one banner to the other placement. Users can click on the mouse to steer it around the screen.

"Mitsubishi wanted with the launch of the Eclipse a sense of people getting an interaction," said Ray Atkin, group account director at San Francisco-based Organic.

The campaign is the first time Mitsubishi has taken over Yahoo's home page for a day, a Mitsubishi representative said.

Both banner ad units invite visitors to play an Organic-created interactive game, the "Thrill Ride Challenge," in which users select from four different racecourses to drive. The top-scoring participant each week will be awarded either a Mitsubishi flat-screen TV or an Apple iPod. Mitsubishi said it would run the competition through Aug. 15.

Mitsubishi said it hoped to generate 20,000 leads for dealers through the campaign. The "Thrill Ride Challenge" has links to Mitsubishi's Web site, where potential buyers can build their own Eclipse, controlling colors and accessories, and get a price quote.

The ad campaign will also run on ESPN.com, Edmunds.com, KellyBlueBook.com, MSN, AOL Autos and other sites.

To coincide with the campaign, Organic overhauled the Mitsubishi Web site to reflect the branding of the campaign, Atkin said. Organic's next project with Mitsubishi will be the fall launch of the Raider, a midsize truck.

The interactive ad campaign, which Mitsubishi said is designed to reach "fun-seeking strivers, is part of the carmaker's "Driven to Thrill" ad campaign launched in May by its agency of record, BBDO, which replaced Deutsch. Organic is now Mitsubishi's lead interactive agency.