Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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Chris Orton white backdrop.JPGWe certainly wouldn't rank Chicago-based Orbitz.com as one of the nation's best marketers. The travel Web site's advertising in years past has been decidedly hit and miss -- with misses far outnumbering anything approaching a hit.

But two things the company does well -- or with some frequency anyway -- is change ad agencies and move people in and out of its marketing department. The latest executive to move into marketing at Orbitz is one Chris Orton, who was most recently a senior director of Internet marketing at eBay. He now will be Orbitz's chief marketing officer, with Deborah Italiano, the company's head of brand marketing reporting to him.

Orbitz has been struggling to turn a profit, but much of the advertising we've seen from the company certainly hasn't done a good job of positioning the travel Web site as a smart destination to head for when making travel plans. We'll have to see whether Orton, who was responsible for such things as search engine optimization at eBay, will have what it takes to transform Orbitz into a savvy marketing behemoth.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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