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msnbc.com Expands Brand Offline

Geist_Hazlet_7.29.jpgTVNewser was on hand last night for the opening of the new msnbc.com digital cafe. The sleek new interactive space at Rockefeller Center is an expansion of msnbc.com’s new trademark “fuller spectrum of news.” The cafe brings news consumption to a whole new level, the second level, in fact, of the NBC Experience Store.

The interactive activities include Spectra, which allows visitors to interact with the day’s headlines on a soon-to-be mounted 108″ monitor, and Newsware which is a series of news-related tools and games. There are several Newsware terminals set up throughout the cafe.

There’s Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee, Garrett’s Popcorn (a Chicago staple now in New York), free WiFi, and a couple of vintage arcade games (which may have played Pac-Man in a former life) now tricked-out into the msnbc.com News Arcade.

“We wanted to bring the msnbc.com experience offline to create an environment that expands the brand,” says MSNBC.com’s VP of marketing Catherine Captain. “What better place than right here at Rockefeller Center.”

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In attendance, Morning Joe’s Willie Geist and Courtney Hazlett. In addition to their work on MSNBC cable, Geist and Hazlett have a presence on msnbc.com; Hazlett writes the Scoop column, and Geist writes the Zeitgeist blog. Also, Bob Sullivan who is the senior writer for msnbc.com’s science & technology section.

Captain tells TVNewser the cafe was more than a year in the making. “And there’s a lot more ahead,” she adds.

The night included a giveaway for those in attendance with prizes ranging from popcorn to a 32″ TV. Guess who would have won a Zune player, if he’d been in attendance?


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Willie Geist picked the name of former TVNewser Brian Stelter who would have won a Zune MP3 player if he’d been in attendance. The names of those who RSVP’d were entered into the drawing.

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