Lycos moves into TV ads with first branding effort

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Internet search engine Lycos breaks its first-ever TV advertising during tonight's NCAA men's basketball tournament championship on CBS.

Airing initially in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, the $6 million campaign from Bozell Worldwide, New York, features a Himalayan Sherpa who guides climbers through one of the world's most daunting mountain ranges.


Carrying the tagline "Get Lycos or get lost," the ad compares the mountains to the World Wide Web and the guide to Lycos.

The campaign marks a shift in direction for Lycos Corp., which until now hasn't executed a branding effort for its search engine.

While rivals Excite and Yahoo! each have spent upwards of $50 million on media advertising, Lycos has con-centrated on licensing deals with strategic partners.

"Now that we've started really branding, it will help get us through the ring of fire once and for all," said Jan Horsfall, VP-marketing at Lycos, referring to the intense competition among search engines--a market industry observers predict will see a shakeout.

The Lycos TV effort will run for 12 weeks and will focus on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with ads running during such programs as NBC's "Seinfeld," "ER" and "Friends."

"In order to achieve a certain sense of `bigness' in the market, we've blocked about four spots each night during key programs," said Mr. Horsfall.


In addition to online advertising by Bozell's Poppe Tyson Interactive, the campaign also includes print ads in People, which Lycos negotiated in a separate barter deal with the Time Inc. weekly. Under that deal, Lycos will provide weekly branded content about the Web to the print title.

Lycos today also unveils a new graphical interface, as well as a reorganized structure that breaks the site into 18 interest areas, including entertainment, sports and business. Yahoo! and Excite announced similar structural changes earlier this month.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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