Y&R unit wins Cablevision account

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Y&R2.1, New York, has connected with a new client: Cablevision Systems Corp.

The 6-month-old unit of Young & Rubicam nabbed its biggest win to date with the estimated $30 million to $50 million integrated assignment for Cablevision's Optimum Online high-speed Internet service. The service works through consumers' existing cable lines.

Y&R2.1 will handle a wide range of marketing duties -- including TV, radio, print, Internet, direct mail and sponsorship programs -- for the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey service area. Young & Rubicam's Digital Edge, New York, will handle online media buying. Previously, Cablevision handled its Optimum Online marketing efforts in-house and worked with agencies such as Romann Group, New York, on a project basis.

BRANDING EFFORT

Y&R2.1's branding campaign for Optimum Online is slated to break at the end of June. Agency executives wouldn't disclose details about the theme of the effort, now in production.

One previous TV theme line was "Faster, cheaper, install it yourself." Another theme from past advertising, "Log on once for the rest of your life," is expected to be a part of Y&R's marketing message.

On the media front, six spots running on Cablevision will be supported by a multitude of outdoor buys, along with a strong presence through demonstrations of the service at New York's Jones Beach this summer. This spring, Cablevision signed the new service as the title sponsor for the "Optimum Online Concert Series" at the beach.

"There's almost nothing we're not going to use or try," said Y&R2.1 CEO David Sable.

According to Cablevision, its Optimum Online service allows consumers to access the Internet via cable modem at speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional dial-up modems.

Initially, the service and cable modem will be available at retail through Cablevision-owned The Wiz. It also will be sold via the Internet and at promotional events.

`JUICING' THE WIZ

Y&R2.1 staffers will work closely with The Wiz not only to create in-store signage but also to motivate and educate the store's staff about the product.

"We're going to be working with their people to train the salespeople at The Wiz to get them juiced," Mr. Sable said.

Cablevision has about 2.8 million subscribers in the New York metro area, where sales and marketing efforts for Optimum Online will be concentrated. By the end of March, Optimum Online was in about 70,500 homes. At the time, Cablevision was marketing the system to about 976,000 households.

"Y&R2.1 is helping us with our thinking," said Pat Falese, Cablevision senior VP-consumer product management and sales. "The role Y&R2.1 will play is a more significant one than we've asked anyone in the past, especially in the areas of developing marketing, advertising and strategic plans for sales."

Y&R2.1's other clients include Harrods.com, Mall.com, Global Digital Media.com and Capital Thinking. The shop launched in December 1999 as an agency-within-an-agency, designed to be a smaller, nimbler version of Y&R Advertising. The smaller shop aims to integrate online and offline marketing for clients.

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