AOL slots $100 mil for fourth-quarter marketing effort

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America Online's new ad campaign breaking Monday night is part of a $100 million fourth-quarter marketing effort to attract new and former customers and retain existing customers with personalized, engaging content and access to the Internet, said AOL President-CEO Steve Case during a conference call with reporters Monday.

The effort will include a 30-minute infomercial and 30- and 60-second spots from TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, as well as a one-hour video to be mailed--along with new AOL 3.0 software--to existing customers.

The ads are the centerpiece of an "energetic, friendly, hard-hitting" effort to differentiate and personalize the brand, Mr. Case said, which will include partnering with outside companies.

"It's not just about new ads breaking tonight," he said. "We're rethinking the way we related to the marketplace..

AOL has instituted two programs, "Member Save" and "Loyalty Lab," to respectively gauge feedback from members considering leaving and to create promotions to keep current members involved. The company also will continue aggressively direct mailing free discs to prospects, he added.

The company is positioning itself in corporate marketing material as "the world's most popular Internet online service," something Mr. Case called "significant" as the company tries to attract and retain people who use Internet service providers to access the Internet.

Separately, AOL unveils its redesigned Web site (http://www.aol.com) Monday, focusing on converting non-AOL Internet users by highlighting the online service's benefits and new additions. The site will also focus on product differentiation, detailing features that are unique to AOL, compared to other online services and the Web.

Copyright October 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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