MEDIAONE EXPANDS EFFORT BY $20 MIL: BROADBAND SERVICE TALKING TECH IN FRIENDLY TONES

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MediaOne Group is cranking up to demystify broadband services in a $20 million-plus corporate effort. A campaign from Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, offers up a "virtual presenter" who zooms across neighborhoods explaining broadband technology.

It was meant to create a level of comfort, said Graham Turner, Margeotes' managing partner-creative director.

In the spot, the presenter lands in places including a child's wading pool, a telecommuter's home office and a PTA meeting.

"It says: `We, MediaOne, are out there in your neighborhood,' " said Julie Berg, MediaOne's exec VP-chief marketing officer.

BROADBAND'S POTENTIAL

Ads continue the tagline "This is broadband. This is the way," emphasizing broadband's future potential as a communications tool. The theme broke with Margeotes' initial efforts to introduce MediaOne last May; MediaOne was formed after the 1996 merger of U S West Media Group and Continental Cablevision.

In the three 60-second spots breaking today in 17 markets, a spokesman digitally moves from one location to another, demonstrating the various broadband services possible -- high-speed Internet access, telephony, videoconfer-encing and digital TV.

This campaign tries to make the technology more user friendly and increase public awareness of what broadband technology does, said Ms. Berg.

LIMITED SERVICE AREAS

MediaOne's competitors include other cable broadband services such as Time Warner's RoadRunner and Tele-Communications Inc., Cox Communications and Comcast Corp.'s jointly owned @Home Network; both, like MediaOne, currently offer service in limited areas of the country.

Ads will run through yearend and will include radio, print, direct mail and promotions. Spending will reach $20 million in paid media, plus there will be additional time on MediaOne cable channels.

Support at the local level may be handled by local-market agencies, said Ms. Berg, but those efforts will follow the brand identity created by Margeotes.

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