AOL Enters the High-Speed Race


Following AOL’s announcement late last week regarding its latest push to provide its “AOL High Speed” broadband network coast-to-coast, the company has also launched an aggressive marketing strategy to catch up with the fast-paced internet world they’ve since been lagging behind in. The partnership with leading providers including BellSouth, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, as well as other major DSL suppliers, hopes to finally bring AOL up to speed with its high speed connection competitors.

As AOL tells ADOTAS, “Upgrading the AOL network has been a priority for us. We felt it would allow us to build a better experience for our members, bring new subscribers to our network partners, and enhance the lifetime member value of our customer relationships,” they said. “We actually began testing bundled offers with select partners in Q4 ’05 and the reaction was very positive, so we decided to work to expand the network with additional partners.”

Users who landed on AOL’s home page over this past weekend would’ve caught a glimpse at its track racing theme which featured runners lined up at the bottom of the page, just waiting for the gun to go off. The central theme of this “Everyone is Fast” online campaign, which also has print, radio and television components, as AOL tells ADOTAS, “features regular people effortlessly keeping up with elite athletes who are competing in skiing, cycling, swimming and other sports. It simply inserts the phrase ‘high speed’ into our existing tagline of ‘Want a better high-speed Internet? You belong at AOL.'”

While Interpublic Group’s Initiative is handling media planning and buying, Atmosphere BBDO, the digital agency arm of BBDO North America (who also covered the offline components), did the dirty work for the online campaign. The target audience the company hopes to reach is mass but with a focus on women and families, and its goal is to appeal to AOL members and those considering upgrading to a high-speed connection. The ads aim to highlight the campaign’s premise that everyone wants to be fast and can be with AOL High Speed.

The online campaign, which launched on 1/27, will run through the first half of this year with offer lengths varying by partner. “Ads are running on a variety of sites and ad networks including,,,,, and Google,” AOL explains. “We will run both page take-overs and in-banner ads.” Not surprisingly, those aforementioned Flash enabled page take-overs were provided by none other than rich-media whiz kids, Pointroll.

The company’s President of AOL’s Access business summed up its hopes, saying, “We’re starting to let AOL members know about this opportunity now to strongly encourage them to improve their online experience with a better, faster Internet connection,” he says. “AOL is committed to offering our members the best high-speed experience — not just faster dial-up but true broadband from a cable or DSL connection. We’ve seen in recent market tests that our members respond very strongly to the ability to more simply combine what they have from AOL with what they want from a broadband connection, and now we’re going to deliver it from coast to coast.”


  1. But AOL users still need a hardwired phone and that added monthly cost makes the bundle costly. Until phone companies realize they must reduce this cost by offering an Internet only line option (no frills, no listing of number, etc.), at a combined competitive price – they will continue to lose business to cable, BPL and wireless options.


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