Have a Modem, Sweetheart

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Cupid's arrows take many forms. This year, digital Don Juans can take advantage of Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Valentine's Day promotion, designed to position Optimum Online high-speed data service as a gift that keeps on giving.

The promotion bundles a cable modem, network card, self-install kit, 12 months of online service and one dozen roses for $349.95. The offer is promoted through The Wiz, Cablevision's consumer electronics retail chain.

Consumers accustomed to communicating by electronic mail are often eager to make sure their loved ones are also online. Though some are hesitant to buy cable modems as gifts when the recipients would be responsible for monthly subscription fees, bundling a year's service in with the gift helps alleviate that reluctance.

Valerie Green, Optimum Online vice president of product strategy, said she thinks the Valentine's Day promotion will appeal to young adults in the digital generation looking for a unique gift to buy.

In a nod to the traditional, the package includes a gift certificate for roses from Proflowers.com.

The promotion launched Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 14. In its first five days, sales in the campaign were running 50 percent above what had been projected for the entire campaign, according to Green.

"I was a little nervous about the Valentine's offer because of the price point," Green said. "But it's been a tremendous success, even before the advertising kicked in."

The MSO positioned Optimum Online as a gift for the first time in December, packaging a cable modem and self-installation kit with payment coupons good for a year's worth of broadband service. A similar campaign is in the works for Mother's Day.