1800Flowers.com Gets Onboard With Gizmoz

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In hopes of stirring up consumers' appetites for its holiday gift items, 1800Flowers.com has sent out a batch of rich media e-mails promoting its GreatFood.com subsidiary.

The message featured an interactive pop-up window, created by Gizmoz, that appears within less than two seconds of a consumer opening the e-mail. Within the window, consumers can view five pages of gift ideas, recipes and entertaining tips.

The Gizmoz technology allows consumers to easily forward the message, copy it to a Web site or save it to their desktop. In order to save the message, consumers needs to download the Gizmoz Collector. The advantage of "collecting" the Gizmo is that any time new recipes, gift ideas or other information changes, the user's Gizmo is automatically updated. The user is alerted to the update via a blinking icon. 1800Flowers.com will update their messages every two weeks.

"What we're trying to accomplish with all our marketing efforts is to build up in consumers' minds that we're the trusted guide to gifting," said Chris McCann, president of 1800Flowers.com, Westbury, NY. "The focus is really that this is about us establishing an ongoing dialogue with the consumer. We're using a Gizmo as a vehicle to further advance the idea of permission marketing and increase the dialogue, which in the end is every marketer's goal."

The e-mails went to 1800Flowers.com's house list of 2.1 million e-mail addresses.

1800Flowers.com acquired GreatFood, a leading online retailer of specialty and gourmet food products, for $18.5 million in cash in November 1999. This campaign should help the company to promote its new division.

"Now as we expanded to other product categories, we have to establish some authority position," said McCann.

A Gizmo can best be described as an envelope that wraps around any type of content such as text, audio, video or animation.

"We wrap rich media, track where it goes and update it," said David Sokolic, vice president of marketing at Gizmoz, New York.

Gizmoz can put together the creative, an ad agency can handle it or Gizmoz will train a client company's staff how to do it themselves. 1800Flowers.com will create their own messages.

McCann said that this rich media effort is a natural fit because the "oldest version of viral marketing is the trading of recipes. We hope they will find the message compelling enough to send it to their friends."

The Gizmo also will soon be available at GreatFood.com. GreatFood was founded in 1995 and features more than 4,000 hand-selected specialty food items from more than 100 suppliers.

Gizmoz was founded in 1996, but its latest incarnation was launched in February. Its product focus had been a creative tool for creating rich media banner ads, but the company saw the industry was shifting away from banner ads "so we took our core technology and reinvented ourselves as Gizmoz," said Sokolic.

The company has created messages for numerous clients, including Icebox.com, Capitol Records and Hookt.com.

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