Saatchi Aids General Magic in Portico Launch

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Integrated voice and data applications company General Magic Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, launched its Portico System last week through a multifaceted advertising campaign created in conjunction with the San Francisco office of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

The campaign included print ads, trade print ads, radio commercials and direct mail, all of which included a toll-free number, 1-800-PORTICO, and Web address,, through which consumers are encouraged to contact the company.

Billed as a virtual assistant, Portico integrates voice mail, e-mail, address book and calendar information, as well as content on the Internet such as company news and stock quotes. It allows information in all these forms to be accessed, retrieved and acted upon using any telephone and a normal speaking voice.

Advertising created by Saatchi & Saatchi focused on the convenience of the system by describing specific functions, such as being able to retrieve e-mail messages by phone.

"From a creative perspective the challenge of the Portico service is its paradoxical blend of simplicity and power," said Curtis Melville, creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi San Francisco. "Our objective was to educate the marketplace about this new approach to effectively manage their information."

The advertising is targeted toward mobile professionals. The first stage of the campaign to break, the print advertising, began with an ad in the Sept. 23 national edition of The Wall Street Journal, followed by ads in The New York Times and other dailies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.

The system was first launched in a progressive rollout through resellers beginning July 30. Through the progressive rollout, the company studied usage patterns and system performance ahead of the full-scale marketing launch.

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