MyFamily breaks $10 mil campaign

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Brimming with frat-boy humor and quirky images, many dot-com ad campaigns fail to tell consumers why they should visit a particular site. MyFamily.com hopes its campaign will be different.

The online resource for families launches a $10 million multimedia campaign from Deutsch, Los Angeles, Nov. 29 that mixes information with images it hopes will elicit emotional responses in consumers.

"The dot-com industry is growing up quickly and, up until now, getting on-air and doing something shocking and irreverent was enough because the key goal was awareness," said Eric Hirshberg, exec-VP and executive creative director at Deutsch. "But we are trying to get people to use the Internet in a totally new way. The tone typical of the dot-com industry right now would not have been appropriate or effective."

CMGI-funded MyFamily.com, which earlier this month changed its corporate name from Ancestry.com, is positioning itself as an online community connecting families through free online services such as address books, chat, calendars and photo albums. Ancestry.com remains as a family lineage-tracking component of MyFamily.com.

NOT ENOUGH TO BUILD A BRAND

It's a business model that lends itself to advertising that's both informative and emotional, said VP-Marketing Jill Braff. Ms. Braff said one reason Deutsch won the account is that the agency recognized the concept, too.

"Deutsch believes it's not enough to just build a brand, you have to explain what the product is," Ms. Braff said. "The advertising draws people in, but also lets them know how to use the product and what the product's benefits are."

The ads carry the tagline "The story of your life" and show photographs of family members interacting with one another, such as dancing or fishing.

Print ads break Dec. 1 in Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, followed by ads in Family Circle, Life and People. Radio and TV ads also begin in December.

Online ads, handled in-house, will run on several undisclosed sites through December. It's possible iDeutsch, Los Angeles, will begin handling online ads early next year. Advertising for Ancestry.com also is expected next year, Ms. Braff said.

Admittedly, MyFamily is trying to get a jump on the competition, Mr. Hirshberg said.

Players already in the family space include Go Network's Family.com, HEYnetwork.com, AltaVista's MyWay.com and America Online.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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