NET POWERHOUSE CISCO OPENS NEW PHASE OF AD EFFORT: 'E-LEARNING' IS FOCUS OF $60 MIL AMERICAS WORK

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Cisco Systems today breaks the second wave of its global brand campaign, revving an "e-learning" theme.

The Internet networking giant is poised to spend between $40 million and $60 million in the Americas alone, roughly the same amount it spent globally last year in its first TV brand effort.

The new budget for other regions was being finalized at press time, but executives projected it will exceed spending for the Americas.

The campaign, via Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, extends the "Empowering the Internet generation" tag and the "Are you ready?" refrain echoed by culturally diverse people around the world, and adds three new TV spots.

The spots take an educational approach with real people conveying facts such as: "This month, another 18 million people will go online" ; "E-mail already outnumbers regular mail 10 to 1"; and "Seven out of 10 students on the Web say they're getting better grades."

"Everything we do is centered around the Internet, and 'Are you ready?' conveys 'are you ready to participate in this new Internet economy,' " said Keith Fox, VP-corporate marketing.

E-LEARNING

Cisco will evangelize the "e-learning" theme as one of the best uses of the Internet for individuals and companies to access and deliver Web-based education and training programs.

The effort dovetails with the company's Networking Academies initiative that offers networking curricula to high schools and community colleges in more than 40 countries.

Mr. Fox and other Cisco executives consider "e-learning" a "killer app," along with e-commerce and e-customer care efforts, in which companies are harnessing the Internet to offer customers a way to self-resolve problems.

"We're focusing on how businesses can use the Internet to gain competitive advantage," said Susan Bruijnes, senior manager-advertising and direct marketing. "E-learning is one way of doing it."

In addition to network TV, Cisco this time adds cable buys, mostly in sports and news programming. Print ads target small and medium-size businesses in business publications and newspapers.

Internet efforts are via Miller Huber, San Francisco.

ON A BUYING SPREE

Cisco, the worldwide leader in the networking category, is on a tear, recently snapping up Cerent Corp. and Monterey Networks to broaden its product portfolio as it competes with Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks Corp. and Alcatel, all of which are rushing to supply networking equipment to telecom service providers.

While techy Cisco's routers are invisible to consumers, the company for the last year has pursued an ingredient-branding strategy to license software to consumer electronics companies.

That software will provide the infrastructure for advanced digital products such as Internet phones and broadband services.

Supplementing Cisco's new global brand creative is its NetAid sponsorship, a multimedia public service ad campaign kicking off Sept. 8, in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme's fight against poverty. Print ads from Goldberg Moser will drive readers to www.netaid.org for information about

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