INTERNET VETERAN UUNET BOOTS UP $20 MIL AD EFFORT: IDENTITY STAYS INTACT WHILE BRAND LINKS TO PARENT MCI WORLDCOM

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UUNet, MCI WorldCom's Internet service, today begins a $20 million U.S. campaign pushing quality and reliability by metaphorically showing how to communicate if a Web service goes down.

With the campaign, the Internet service introduces a new logo closely aligning UUNet as "an MCI WorldCom company."

One of the oldest names in the Internet business, UUNet has managed to keep its brand intact through three telecom mergers in the course of three years.

Ads introduce a new tagline: "The world's Internet communications company."

AD BUDGET DOUBLES

The company doubled its ad budget for this year in keeping with revenue expected to double to more than $3 billion, said Mike Tobin, marketing manager.

The campaign, targeting management and computer professionals at companies with at least 50 employees, will run on a mix of cable channels and golf programs; in business titles Business Week, Fast Company, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and Wired; and in trade publications.

The campaign uses metaphors to show how business people could communicate if their Web service failed: a message in a bottle, smoke signals, paper airplane, pony express.

The strategic pitch: The more a business relies on the Internet, the more a business needs to rely on UUNet.

FOCUS SHIFTS

The company is using the campaign to broaden its reach to medium-size and small businesses. Founded in 1987, until now it had focused on providing Internet service to big businesses, as well as handling traffic for consumer services such as America Online and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.

Donino, White & Partners, Atlanta, shot the creative in Australia and Thailand and hired Patrick Stewart of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for the voice-over. The high production values-UUNet spent an estimated $1.5 million on the shoot-reflect the company's need to pitch a quality message by presenting a quality image.

Agency President-CEO Frank Donino said the goal is to position the brand "as the leader in the Internet communications space . . . and [to promote] the quality, reliability and 100% guarantee that business users need to rely on and expect from the leader in the category."

COMPETING AGAINST POWERHOUSES

UUNet competes against such powerhouse brands as AT&T. Mr. Tobin said the idea of switching UUNet to the MCI WorldCom brand "was examined closely, but it didn't make sense," given the strength of the UUNet name in the Internet business market.

"By going under the MCI brand, we really become just part of a long-distance company," he said. "It was determined that if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

That's good news for Donino White, which has seen its client's revenue rocket to more than $1 billion last year from $180 million when then-independent UUNet signed on with the shop in 1995.

UUNet leads MCI WorldCom's Web offensive; regulators last year required MCI to sell its Internet assets to cinch the deal with WorldCom, which owned UUNet. MCI reps sell UUNet's business services, but Mr. Tobin said there are no plans to

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