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Beach Parties in Cannes Help Yahoo, Google Win Ads

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer landed on the French Riviera last week with a posse of space adventurers. Her goal: Convince advertisers that the Internet -- with programming such as a new Yahoo sitcom about an alternate universe -- can be as effective as television for pitching brands.

Mayer joined executives from AOL Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. at the annual Cannes Lions advertising festival to court potential clients with beach parties, gift bags, and appearances by the likes of Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Sarah Jessica Parker. The digital companies came bearing scripts, pilots for shows, and a hard sell on the benefits of online ads.