EarthLink Launches First National Ad Campaign

Internet service provider EarthLink on Monday kicked off its first national advertising effort, starting with a two-week blitz of television, radio and outdoor advertising running in more than 70 markets.

Building the company’s brand is especially important, because EarthLink is in the process of merging with MindSpring, and the combined entity will carry the EarthLink name.

The campaign, which has the tagline “It’s Your Internet”, takes a humorous approach, while not going into the gross-out territory where some players have ventured.

“This effort is designed to generate immediate results, while giving prospective EarthLink members a good feel for what we’re all about: We’re a company of dedicated folks who take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves,” says Brinton Young, EarthLink’s senior vice president of marketing.

“We’re excited about the Internet as the medium for the individual, and we understand that the Internet is the big attraction, not EarthLink.”

On television, viewers will see three thirty-second spots highlighting the wacky, way-out sites that individuals have created on the Internet.

After showing sites like Hampster Dance, Karaoke Center USA, and Thumbtanic, a voice over will say things like “Welcome to the Internet. Home to many fascinating Web sites. And this one.” The spots conclude with the EarthLink name and tagline.

Outdoor ads will take aim directly at AOL, juxtaposing fictitious email addresses in an attempt to portray EarthLink as more personal. The ads will say things like herd@aol.com vs. heard@earthlink.net, or goliath689@aol.com vs. david@earthlink.net.

Radio ads also target current AOL customers, urging them to “graduate” to going directly to the Internet, rather than using AOL’s proprietary service.

The campaign was created by BBDO West, part of BBDO Worldwide, whose other clients include e-Candy.com, headlight.com, MGM, Pioneer and Charles Schwab.

The initial two-week ad blitz will be followed by an assessment, after which BBDO West and EarthLink will decide how to proceed with advertising efforts.

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