AOL DEBUTS TWO SPOTS FOR BROADBAND ON OSCAR SHOW

Internet Giant Prepares TV Ad Blitz for High-Speed Service

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- America Online yesterday broke the first two spots in what could be a major TV ad blitz in support of the March 31 relaunch of its AOL Broadband service.

The two ads debuted during Sunday night's telecast of the 75th annual Academy Awards on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC. One of the new spots re-creates the opening sequence of the 1970s series The Six Million Dollar Man, using the show's voice-over ("Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. ... We can make him better, strong, faster.") and theme music. But instead of a rebuilt bionic man, the spot shows a much speedier version of AOL's yellow running man icon, which is meant to contrast with the older, slower dial-up service.

Sharon Stone

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The second ad stars actress Sharon Stone lying in bed, waxing enthusiastically about how great she feels, how wonderful the experience was as the AOL running man icon bolts from her bed.

Earlier this year, AOL tapped Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, to devise a strategy to promote AOL Broadband and key entertainment properties such as AOL Music. The account is believed to be in the $150 million range. The first signs of its new consumer brand approach appeared on the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards.

Nearly one-third of U.S. households have broadband Internet service now, according to Forrester Research. AOL has 34 million subscribers but only 3 million of them have broadband access.

The company's CEO, Jon Miller, has made broadband and exclusive content the cornerstone of AOL's growth strategy.

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