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PSINet spent the past year aggressively acquiring small rivals and building its network. This week, the Internet service provider begins a new kind of push-an ad campaign to acquire customers.

A TV spot, created by Trone Advertising, Greensboro, N.C., questions traditional business practices. In it, a bellowing CEO-type ages quickly and dramatically as each word he speaks rails against change; voice-over challenges: "With the Internet, business either innovates or vegetates. You make the call."

A corresponding print ad effort in business magazines will begin in the next few months.


The estimated $10 million campaign hit the air during the first National Football League games on Sunday and will continue with a heavy schedule on football programming through the fall.

PSINet has advertised on TV before, but mainly on business and news networks such as CNN. Its former tagline was, "The Internet starts here."

"We think there is an old way and a new way-telcos are the old way and ISPs are the new way," said Robert Leahy, PSINet senior VP-corporate marketing and communications. "We're think this is going to break through the clutter. It captures a personality that is very aggressive in a space that is moving very fast."

He said the reasoning behind the sports buys is twofold. Football telecasts reach the target demographic of business decision-makers and the corollary investment community. The second reason is PSINet's other involvement with the NFL.


PSINet owns stadium-naming rights to the Baltimore Ravens' home field and hosts several Ravens Web sites. The ISP also is in discussions with several additional NFL teams for a variety of projects, including private-label affinity programs, Mr. Leahy said.

Stephen Feinberg, Trone exec VP-chief creative officer, said PSINet has been focused on its financial performance and is now at a comfortable place to raise its profile.

"This is highly visible TV and bigger media." he said. "Media drive the creative, so they wanted work that could compete at that level."

PSINet is still on a rapid growth cycle; it acquired 10 ISPs in the second

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