Excite@Home Enlists Hollywood for PSA


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 television.

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 on society."