Dannon Picks imc2 for Interactive

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The Dannon Company Inc. has named imc2, Dallas, to handle interactive marketing for the French-owned packaged-goods company.

More than 10 agencies sought the business, and four reached the final round. Of the two Connecticut-based incumbents, Alcone Marketing retains its position as agency of record on consumer promotions and Design Trust will continue advising on internal interactive work.

"They want to develop a database marketing program to better interact and relate with their consumers," said Dave Perry, vice president of client services at imc2.

Billings were not disclosed.

Besides database marketing, the agency will maintain www.dannon.com, which does double duty as a corporate and consumer site. Eventually it may develop new Dannon sites. Other responsibilities include advising on interactive marketing strategy and research.

Established in 1996, the agency has clients like the American Diabetes Association, Dr Pepper/7UP, Novartis, Procter & Gamble Co., General Mills, Chiquita and Eli Lilly and Co. Billings last year were $14 million.

Based in Tarrytown, NY, Dannon produces 100 flavors, sizes and styles of yogurt. Brands include Danimals, Actimel, Fruit on the Bottom, Frusion, Light 'n' Fit and Sprinkl'ins.

The company has made a few strides online in the past couple years. Dannon.com now offers nutritional information, recipes, entertainment and games. It is an important platform to announce brand launches, and this year was part of a partnership with Six Flags.

Partnerships is another area where Dannon is active online. An alliance with Terra Lycos has produced www.danimalslycoszone.com, a site with interactive games for children ages 3 to 8. Links on dannon.com and Lycos.com point to this area.

The company also buys banners and sponsorships on certain sites. It had a deal with ParentCenter.com to promote Danimals to children.

"Which of these platforms make sense, where do we work harder and where do we spend more or less?" Dannon vice president of marketing Eric Leventhal said of the options under consideration.

Leventhal said Dannon's promotions through its consumer affairs department's 800-number have yielded a sizable number of e-mail addresses and other details.

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