Advertisement Becomes the Latest Dot-Com Casualty

Advertisement's commercial spokescharacter, "The Giver," has gone away for good, the latest casualty of the dot-com slump.

The Waltham, Mass.-based online service allowed users to send expensive gifts via the Internet. Last week, the company ceased operations.

" has been forced to close its business due to the ongoing uncertainty in the economic environment surrounding our business," said Michael Lannon, the firm's founder and chief executive, in a letter posted on the company's site. "We have decided it's best to cease operations immediately and begin the painful task of closing down" officials could not be reached for comment.

The company, formed four years ago, launched its first national campaign during the 1999 holiday season through Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York.

The effort featured the voyeuristic but good-hearted Giver, whose face was never seen in the ads he narrated. The campaign was tagged, "Where great givers go," and spending was estimated in the $15-20 million range.

In one spot, The Giver watched a female friend enjoy an expensive dinner he sent her from While serving a cherries flambe dessert, The Giver's arm caught fire. In another commercial, The Giver drove a golf cart while holding a flute of champagne, watching a friend enjoy the gift of an expensive day on the links, only to be hit by a golf ball right in the "little giver." joins several notable dot-coms, and their high-profile ad campaigns, on the trash heap. Disney-backed, for example, spent $20 million initially on ads through Arnold Worldwide before closing last summer., the Internet retailer best known for the sock puppet character in its ads, called it quits in November. TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco had handled the account, which was also estimated around $20 million.