Branding On The Net

The old rules don't apply. So how do you hustle those wares online?

Devotees of Troy and Linda will never know how their romance turned out. Bell Atlantic Corp. has pulled the plug on its online soap opera, which revolved around the yuppie newlyweds. The weekly installments ran on the Bell Atlantic corporate Web site last year. The serial had lots of fans. It won rave reviews from entertainment critics. But the Baby Bell's research showed Troy and Linda didn't do a thing to build the Bell Atlantic brand. No bounce in brand awareness surveys. No spike in consumer loyalty. "Creative is fine," says Janet Keeler, vice-president for brand management at Bell Atlantic. "But that kind of creative just didn't pan out. We want to build our brand on the Web."

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