Even with its future ownership being debated closely in the
press, Excite@Home Corp. continued to promote its brand and its favorite public-service
causes last week.
The company unveiled a new Meg Ryan public-service
announcement for the I Am Your Child Foundation on its Web site last week. It also planned
to run the 30-second spot as a preview to the New York premiere of new movie The Story
of Us this past Sunday (Oct. 10).
Rob Reiner, who directed The Story of Us, cofounded
the IAYC in 1997. Earlier this year, the group enlisted Excite@Home to create a Web site
called Excite First Years (firstyears.excite.com), a customizable resource for
parents with information geared toward the first three years of their children's lives.
The tag line, "What excites Meg Ryan?" on the
Excite@Home page links visitors to the PSA. Excite@Home's cable partners will run the PSA
on-air starting this week, where they will have an exclusive run before going to broadcast
The spots follow a series of billboards boasting that The
Story of Us stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis. One eye-catching ad featuring
Willis cooing with a newborn served as a teaser to drive visitors to the Web site.
"They're celebrities of integrity," Excite@Home
senior vice president of marketing Steve Siegel said of Ryan, Willis and Pfeiffer. The
fact that Hollywood stars don't typically lend their names to product endorsements gives
credibility to the public-service effort.
Siegel predicted that other high-profile celebrities would
attach their names to the effort in the future, because many people believe "there's
nothing more important than early childhood development."
He said he's looking forward to wider participation in the
campaign from the cable industry, adding that the work the industry has done with AIDS
organization Cable Positive "is proof that the cable industry can have a huge impact