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"Living" Technology Breathes Life into Net Advertising

Zoesis Studios Wins MIMC Awards for Technology That Reaches New Levels of Emotion and Awareness

NEWTON, Massachusetts (November 2, 2001) Zoesis Studios, a high-tech animation studio dedicated to bringing interactive computer characters to life, received two awards from the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council (MIMC) for "Best Use of Technology" and best offering in the "Children's" category. The award-winning Web site, OttoAndIris.com, is the proof of concept for a new form of Internet advertising called Living Products.

Living Products are interactive, computer-animated branded products, such as cereals, frozen treats, snacks, food, beverages and condiments, which appear to be convincingly alive. The characters have feelings and are aware of the user. Many visitors to Living Products worlds spend over an hour playing, bonding and falling in love with the products. This interaction results in a more powerful experience than typically achieved with television advertising or traditional promotions.

Several significant national brand companies are testing Living Products, including Good Humor-Breyers and Energizer.

Julio Del Cioppo, senior brand manager for Popsicle at Good Humor Breyers, says, "Kids and adults associate the Popsicle® brand with fun flavors and imagination. Our Web site, popsicle.com, is a place kids enjoy visiting. We're intrigued by the possibility of a new way to build a closer relationship with our core audience, and we're looking forward to seeing the results of our study."

Heinz North America is also reviewing Living Products technology for possible use in future marketing programs for the Heinz EZ Squirt® brand.

According to NFO WorldGroup advertising effectiveness research, Living Products raise brand appeal and purchase intent more effectively than other interactive advertising that uses Shockwave and Flash. Specifically, a Living Products study for a popular national breakfast product showed an increase in purchase intent from 2 percent to 15 percent, measured five days after exposure to the advertising. Children claiming the product as one of their favorites showed an increase in brand appeal from 32 percent to 42 percent.

Kids entering a Living Products world spend an average of 40 minutes, and choose to revisit the site three times. Post-exposure surveys of thousands of kids show they overwhelmingly like or love Living Products and their worlds. Half the kids say they want to revisit the experience after the study. Half want to spread the word to friends and family, urging others to visit the Web site. Positive changes in brand attitude go hand-in-hand with these responses.

Joseph Bates, co-founder and president of Zoesis Studios, says, "Consumer product companies are moving away from banner ads and moving toward branded Internet experiences by placing their products within online games. Our method beats this type of product placement because our technology brings the product itself to life. With our approach, kids fall in love with the products, not with the games."

About MIMC
MIMC is a non-profit trade association created in 1996 to help support and build the interactive media industry in New England. The MIMC community consists of over 3,000 companies and individuals who design, build and deliver interactive technology products and services. Further information about MIMC can be found at www.mimc.org.

About Zoesis Studios
Zoesis Studios, located in Newton, Massachusetts, consists of two creative operations: the Living Products advertising group and the Living Characters entertainment group. The company was launched in Pittsburgh in 1996 when Joseph Bates, a senior professor of Computer Science and Fine Art at Carnegie Mellon University, founded the company with three Ph.D. members of his research team and several key artists. The company moved to Boston in 1997, where it continues to advance and roll out its unique art/technology for interactive advertising and entertainment. The company received financial backing as well as technical collaboration from Fujitsu Limited, one of the largest computer corporations in the world. Further information about Zoesis Studios can be located on the World Wide Web at www.zoesis.com.

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