Cablevision Unleashes New Campaign for Optimum Online

Cablevision next week will take the wraps off a new $2 million campaign for its Optimum Online high-speed Internet service — beginning with an effort aimed at reaching young people and seniors.

The campaign will start with two 30-second television spots that follow the theme “There’s no better way to learn,” pushing home the idea that the Internet is an invaluable resource and the best way to access it is via a broadband connection.

In one spot, a young boy uses Optimum Online’s cable broadband service to perform research on the solar system, using the knowledge he gains to build a scale model in his bedroom. In the second, a senior citizen uses streaming media via Optimum Online to learn how to dance.

“What you’ll see as we unfold new spots in this campaign is just a variety of scenarios that underpin what our brand strategy is — which is that Optimum Online changes you,” said Valerie Green, vice president of product strategy for Optimum Online. “It absolutely changes behavior by opening up a variety of worlds that are just not as accessible through a dial-up connection.”

The campaign was designed by ad agency Red Tettemer and the spots were shot by two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminiski.

The campaign targets seniors and youngsters because the number of these people online is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. According to a recent report by Jupiter Research, which is a division of this publication’s parent company, 4.5 million people over 65 were online at the end of 2001, and that number will nearly quadruple to 16.3 million users by 2007. The number of children younger than 11 online is also expected to increase dramatically, from 14.2 million users at the end of 2001 to 27.5 million by 2007.

Cablevision is not alone in seeing the older set as an untapped market for Internet services. Over the holidays, MSN ran a $5 million campaign to lure seniors to try its MSN TV service.

Like MSN’s campaign, the Optimum Online spots focus on the emotional and aspirational aspects of having high-speed Internet access, in an effort to appeal to mainstream customers. The spots will tell stories of people learning, making connections, and fulfilling passions.

“That’s really what we believe,” said Green, “that it really does turn the relationship between you and your computer into a much larger relationship than what one has with dial-up, just because of the enormous amount of things high speed allows you to do.”

Understandably, Cablevision is utilizing its cable television distribution platform to promote Optimum Online, running these spots across a number of cable channels. It will also purchase time on broadcast television, as the campaign goes on.

So far, Cablevision’s marketing strategy for Optimum Online would seem to be paying off. When it last reported results, in November, it said it had recruited 69,500 new customers in the third quarter, or 5,300 per week, for a total of 680,000.

Besides Optimum Online, Cablevision owns and operates a wide variety of entertainment and media businesses, including Madison Square Garden, the WIZ consumer electronics stores, and television programming operations like American Movie Classics and the Independent Film Channel.

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