Magazine article Insight on the News

Let Me Give You My E-Card

Magazine article Insight on the News

Let Me Give You My E-Card

Article excerpt

Like the Internet, which helped transform commerce and communication, new high-tech business cards promise to drag us deeper into the digital age, whether we like it or not.

Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush latched onto a new high-tech trend when he handed out CD-ROM business cards at the GOP's convention. Companies have used the high-tech business cards for nearly two years for business-to-business marketing. Now political candidates are following suit.

"Politics is about marketing, and this gets a candidate anywhere there's a computer," says Tim Storer, president and founder of New Media Gateway, the Dallas-based company that produced the CD-ROM business cards for the Bush campaign.

The staff of Sen. Spencer Abraham, a Michigan Republican, passed out mini-CD-ROM disks to reporters at the Republican state convention in May -- the disks contained audio versions of a speech he had just delivered and all the content from his campaign Website. "There's a futuristic appeal," says Jack Koller, director of new media for Abraham's reelection campaign. "The medium is very good with those members of the electorate who have computers, especially the college crowd."

GOPAC, the political-action committee and candidate-education center made famous by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has begun distributing 1,500 CD-ROM business cards as well. The disks will include a 51-minute audio message from Rep. David Dreier of California and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, both Republicans, and will contain links to GOPAC's Website.

"We're moving into the digital age, and this is a great way to get the word out," says GOPAC spokesman Dallas Lawrence. "We could send out an audiocassette, but it wouldn't have any other information on it. It wouldn't have text or the Internet link." People also are more likely to pop a CD-ROM in a computer than they are to read direct mail, adds Lawrence, because the high-tech business cards are still a novelty.

The high-tech business cards hold up to 60 megabytes of information -- six minutes of video, 100 minutes of audio and more than 10,000 pages of text. Personal computers need to be equipped with disk drives to read information on the CD-ROM cards (they don't work in music CD players). …

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