Mars Launches PlanetPromote

New Unit From Michigan Agency Will Specialize in Promotions
DETROIT–Mars Advertising is expanding its system with a startup venture called PlanetPromote to provide account-specific marketing and promotion.
The Southfield, Mich. agency’s new subsidiary was created in collaboration with Detroit Web developer Media Genesis.
Anne Howe, a former vice president and head of Mars Online, will serve as chief operating officer of the division, which will have offices in Southfield and Troy, Mich. She did not downplay her expectations of the division, saying it will “revolutionize” the way manufacturers and retailers can partner on the Web.
PlanetPromote’s main offering is an Internet application called PromoBolt, in which retailers can quickly put together sweepstakes, surveys and loyalty card tie-ins aimed at consumers.
There are numerous co-branding opportunities for clients with the system, Howe said. A toy manufacturer, for example, could use it when launching a new product. PlanetPromote could develop multiple sweepstakes, co-branded for each retailer that carries the toy.
The unit will offer clients what the agency says are more cost-efficient ways to increase their presence on the Web with geographically targeted banner buys through the Flycast Network, targeted e-mails or custom programs. While keyed to interactive development, Planet-Promote also has the capacity to provide traditional direct mail programs, Howe said.
Howe said the time is right for PlanetPromote, as many manufacturers are looking for ways to increase their presence online in hopes of developing better one-to-one relationship marketing with consumers. While she said the unit is in discussions with several potential clients who have expressed an interest in its capabilities, she declined to name any.
Mars was a natural to develop such a unit because of the agency’s extensive background in account-specific marketing, Howe said.
According to the six-year veteran of Mars, the agency was one of the first in the 1970s to implement such strategies as matching packaged goods clients with grocery chains and developing promotions to reach consumers in the store. K