Oxygen Ads Breathe Life Into Brand11/07/1999 7:00 PM Eastern
Oxygen Media hopes its new humor-filled ad campaign will
help to differentiate its brand as a women's network and online-content company that
doesn't see females as victims.
In new television ads that broke last week, Oxygen
introduced the tag line, "Another great reason to be a woman," which the company
hopes will carry over to the Oxygen brand.
One spot pictures a baby speaking "Mama" into a
camcorder -- despite repeated attempts by her father to get her to say "Dada"
instead -- before the tag line is announced.
The campaign is backed by multimedia efforts ranging from
billboards to banner ads on Web sites not necessarily designed only for women. Oxygen will
run banner ads on MP3.com, for example, which markets music downloads.
"We believe music is a very powerful way to
communicate with women," Oxygen senior vice president of marketing Linda Ong said,
adding that the company wants to include teens and young women in its audience.
"We want to show up in unexpected places to break
through the clutter," Ong added.
To that end, Oxygen will break new ads -- currently under
development by its agency, Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen Advertising -- during the Super
Bowl, which airs Jan. 30, just three days before Oxygen launches its television network.
Ong conceded that advertising a women's brand during
such a male-oriented program might raise some eyebrows -- and hopefully gain some
publicity at the same time.
"We've got ovaries," Ong said.
"That's the measure of how we judge any new marketing plans: Is this ovariesy
[pronounced over-easy] enough?"
But the Super Bowl placement wasn't chosen just to
break the mold. Ong said Oxygen knows women will be watching the football game along with
their guys and their families, and those women will also be watching the ads.
"We don't look down at women," Ong said.
"We don't see them as victims or people who need a lot of help."
Instead, Oxygen uses humor in its ads as a way to build a
connection with its audience.
"Humor is the foundation of practically everything we
do," Ong said. "It's a tool women use in their own daily lives. We're
puzzled as to why it's not used more in women's brands."
The first Oxygen ads direct consumers to the oxygen.com
Web site, which precedes the network launch. The Web site serves a number of functions,
including acting as a grassroots tool to generate support for cable carriage of the
But Ong was quick to say that the site wasn't created
simply as a marketing venue to support programming on the television network. The online
content is so robust that it could live without any mention of the Oxygen network
programming, she added.
"We don't want to be viewed as some television
network that just has a Web site," Ong said. "If anything, we want to be
perceived as a 'dot.com' brand that started a television network."
In other news, Oxygen announced a $15 million
electronic-commerce and marketing partnership last week with The Right Start, which sells
child-development products for infants and children.
Oxygen did not disclose its budget for its new branding