AOL first online service provider to run U.K. TV ads

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LONDON -- AOL, the U.K.'s biggest Internet service provider (ISP), is to become the first ISP to advertise on U.K. national TV with a $10 million campaign that begins its 12-week run November 2.

The TV, print, outdoor and radio ads target families just beginning to use the Internet and aim to portray AOL as easy to use and helpful, with back-up provided by its free seven-days-a-week customer service operation. The campaign was created by small London agency Mortimer Whittaker O'Sullivan, and media was bought by BBJ Media Services, also London.

Using TV for the first time enables AOL to "introduce the fast growing consumer sector to concepts such as email, Web searching and parental controls, in a familiar and relevant setting--the living room," the company says. The ads star a female character, Connie, designed to be the personification of AOL, who is "helpful, guiding and friendly."

The ads carry the tagline: "AOL. So easy to use--no wonder we're No. 1."

AOL U.K. claims to have more than 450,000 U.K. members. It's German service ran a TV ad campaign last year and its French service is gearing up to follow suit. AOL U.K. is part of a joint venture set up in March 1995 by America Online Inc. and German Bertelsmann AG: AOL Bertelsmann Online.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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