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Politicians, automakers look for new audiences on the Web


Product announcements on the Web aren't anything new.

And politicians were among the first to embrace the Web for making initial campaign announcements, with Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes one of the most recent to do so.

This Tuesday, the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company will unveil the new 2000 Mercury Sable at the San Diego Auto Show -- and live on the World Wide Web.

The whole grand affair will take place live at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time Tuesday, March 31 from the floor of the auto show and Webcast live (broadcast via the Web) feeds will be available at the Mercury Web site.

In addition to seeing the debut of Mercury's latest car, you'll have an opportunity to chat live with some of Ford's top dogs: Jac Nasser, Ford president and CEO; J. Mays, vice president of design for Ford; and Mark Hutchins, president of Lincoln Mercury.

The Webcast is a deliberate move by the company to reach new customers.

The Mercury division has been trying to reshape its image to attract younger buyers, according to industry analysts. Right now, the average age of Mercury Sable buyers is 62, according to a recent wire report.

Seeking creativity and youthful influence, the company moved its headquarters out to Irvine, Cal., and actively encouraged managers to think younger and hipper.

The Sable's Ford twin, the 2000 Taurus, will also be unveiled Tuesday, but it will be shown across the country at the New York Auto Show.

Mercury is making sure that joining in on the Webcast could pay off big for you.

Mercury is giving away a two-year lease on a 2000 Sable to those who register during the event.

For details and registration information, visit the Mercury Web site at www.mercuryvehicles.com.

Y2K ALREADY? While the Y2K bug -- the trouble that some computers may have interpreting the Year 2000 -- isn't officially set to arrive for another nine months or so, problems associated with it may arrive early.

Some U.S. and Canadian government agencies and companies will begin fiscal year 2000 on Wednesday, April 1, meaning their computer systems will have to handle computations based on the new year.

Already, this Y2K "trial" is being touted as an early test of what may happen at the end of the year.

The British government issued an advisory last week stating that the April 1 date rollover may create pre-2000 Y2K problems all over the place.

Need more Y2K information? Here's a tip.

One of the best Web sites that operates as a clearinghouse for Y2K news is the CBN News Y2K Insights Web site.

CBN's editors scour the Web for the latest news, and offer it in an unbiased manner (their views on Y2K can be found in their "Commentary" section).

Point your browser to www.cbn.org/y2k/.

BOX OFFICE ONLINE. The "Boys of Summer" will be returning to the baseball stadiums very soon, and one of the easiest ways you can get tickets is via the Web.

Ticketmaster, the Godzilla of the concert/sports-event ticket industry, offers tickets to nearly every event imaginable for sale at their Web site.

The Cincinnati Reds return to Cinergy Field on Monday, April 5, for Opening Day of the 1999 baseball season, and tickets for the game against the San Francisco Giants are still available at Ticketmaster.

If baseball isn't your favorite activity, you can find tickets for the Kentucky Thoroughblades (hockey), WCW (wrestling) or the Cherry Poppin' Daddies (swing music).

Plan that family sports outing today after a visit to Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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