By Published on .

MARKETER: America Online

WHERE TO FIND IT: Search engines

CRITIQUE: Billion-dollar network upgrades aside, speed and America Online are not concepts often associated with each other. Trying to put a good spin on your weakness is always a good plan, but a whimsical banner ad is not the way to go about it. And that seems to be what AOL is attempting to do with this banner promoting its AOL Instant Messenger product.

Although it's a little bit unclear in this execution, the message seems to be "AIM -- so fast you'll get a ticket." Well, yeah. Speed in an "instant" messenger should be redundant, shouldn't it?

Speed would be a strong selling point for AOL's service, and Steve Case's earnest and ubiquitous TV appearances from years past were a good way of doing that, whereas this banner falls short.

AIM is a good way to keep in touch with online friends and family, both on AOL and not. It's easy to use and easy to set up -- especially with the annoying Netscape messages prompting you to download it every single time you launch that application.

These could be good selling points for the service. But this banner about getting pulled over for speeding on the Infobahn blows right by all the marks.

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