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6/08/2005

 
AG Interactive and Legendary Urban Trendsetter Russell Simmons Unite to Bring Hip Hop Culture to a Wireless Generation

Def Jam Mobile will provide a vast array of personalized mobile content ranging from messaging and ringtones to graphics, games, greetings and news

CLEVELAND, June 7, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- AG Interactive, the new media subsidiary of American Greetings Corporation, and the renowned hip hop mogul and visionary Russell Simmons, have joined together to provide a new arsenal of cutting edge wireless offerings and avenues of personal expression through content-based products, services and applications to millions living the hip hop lifestyle.

AG Interactive and Def Jam's branded Def Jam Mobile is designed to offer a new voice for the hip hop generation by developing a substantial suite of new wireless applications and products to the mobile marketplace. Under the agreement, the partners will jointly develop, distribute and market mobile content offerings in the music, film and videogame area as well as other forms of self-expression including personalization, messaging products and entertainment. The content will be produced and marketed to create meaningful connections with the hip hop audience, providing an innovative way to express personal choices and lifestyle.

The partnership brings AG Interactive together with one of hip hop's most historic entrepreneurs. Simmons founded seminal rap label Def Jam, launching the careers of legendary artists including LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. He revolutionized urban fashion by creating the Phat Farm clothing line, launched popular television projects including Def Jam Comedy, and Def Jam Poetry and created the influential Hip Hop Summit. All these achievements have made Simmons the most sought-after thought leader in the urban market. Just as importantly for AG Interactive, Simmons has already enjoyed success producing branded mobile phones through deals with Motorola.

Simmons will now bring his magic touch to AG Interactive, which is already creating buzz in the urban wireless arena with its upcoming Univision Movil content which is targeted to the Hispanic market. Def Jam Mobile will cement AG Interactive's growing reputation as a wireless content innovator.

"This major partnership with Russell Simmons enables AG Interactive to establish a leadership position in a market that wireless content providers are eager to penetrate," notes Josef Mandelbaum, President and Chief Executive Officer, AG Interactive. "When looking to partner with an organization that best represents this lifestyle, there is no more authentic and influential brand than Def Jam."

"It's only natural to extend hip hop into new avenues of self-expression," states Kevin Liles, President and Chief Executive Officer, Def Jam. "Def Jam Mobile will allow us to be able to provide new ways for our audience to access and use wireless content to further their own individuality."

"The buying power of the hip hop generation has evolved into a multibillion dollar economic force," notes Russell Simmons, Chief Executive Officer, Rush Communications. "We're confident Def Jam Mobile will bring the most desirable, targeted mobile content to the core, hip hop demographic."

Hip hop has come to dominate both urban communities and traditional suburbia with CD sales topping $1 billion in 2003, largely due to the 45 million hip hop consumers between the ages of 13 and 34. This group is 80 percent white, according to Simmons Lathan Media Group, and has an annual spending power of $1 trillion. The new partnership seeks to provide an unparalleled opportunity for those living this hugely popular and influential culture to extend their self-expression into the mobile marketplace. To gain wide distribution for Def Jam Mobile, AG Interactive will draw on partnerships with more than 25 carriers.

About AG Interactive

AG Interactive, the new media subsidiary of American Greetings, operates Internet and mobile businesses including a network of sites such as AmericanGreetings.com, eGreetings.com, Beatgreets.com and global brand BlueMountain.com. The sites together offer over 20,000 high quality greetings and other types of expressive content and is the number one online greeting card destination with over 2 million paying subscribers and tens of millions of unique visitors per month. AG Interactive's mobile brands include MIDIRingTones, Kiwee, BlueMountain, Univision Mobile and Def Jam Mobile. In addition, AG Interactive has partnerships with more than 25 carriers and all major Internet portals. AG Interactive directs several business units including a wireless entertainment division providing innovative personal expression solutions for consumers through wireless and other multi-media platforms and international and new product units. AG Interactive is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio with offices in New York, Los Angeles, St. Paul (MN), Paris, Hanover (Germany), Madrid, London and Bucharest (Romania).

AG Interactive is part of American Greetings Corporation, one of the world's leading manufacturers of social expression products. American Greetings companies also include Carlton Cards(R), Learning Horizons(R), Balloon Zone(R) and DesignWare(R). American Greetings is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information on the corporation, visit http://corporate.americangreetings.com.

About Rush Communications

Rush Communications was founded in 1990 by Hip Hop mogul and visionary Russell Simmons to maximize the numerous business and creative opportunities he perceived within the entertainment industry. Committed to creating dynamic, urban-based entertainment that captures the raw energy and creativity of American youth culture, Rush Communications has become a multimedia conglomerate synonymous with innovation, independence and integrity.

From its roots in music -- Simmons brought rap into the cultural mainstream through his founding of the legendary music label Def Jam -- to its diversified interests in film, television, publishing and fashion, Rush Communications' preeminence rests on its prescient identification, interpretation and development of provocative synergistic content. Among its flagship businesses is Phat Fashions which has achieved great success over the past 12 years in conveying the All-American lifestyle.

The collection includes apparel, jewelry, eyewear, loungewear, fragrance, footwear, suits and accessories. Visionary in its scope and breadth, Rush Communications is also mindful of its social responsibilities which it pursues through the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, which work to empower and enlighten urban youth across the country.

SOURCE AG Interactive
Elizabeth Ruttenberg of AG Interactive, +1-216-889-5230, or
Lruttenberg@ag.com ; or Sarah Evans of CarryOn Communication, Inc.,
+1-323-988-4701, or Sarahe@carryonpr.com ; or Holly Taylor of Howard
Rubenstein & Assoc., +1-212-643-9220, or htaylor@rubenstein.com




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