Road Runner has created a new marketing concept centered on
The Beach Boys' tune, "I Get Around," which it plans to use as an umbrella
theme for all of its major promotional campaigns over the next two to three years.
Tim Evard, senior vice president of marketing for Road
Runner, said the company wanted to position its high-speed Internet service not as a
technology, but as a fast, easy and fun way to use the new entertainment medium.
"We believe very strongly that how people feel about
you is more important than what people know," he said. "We don't want
people to feel that we're this intimidating thing that people in white jackets
MediaOne Group Inc.'s high-speed-data service,
MediaOne Express, will begin to transition to the Road Runner brand starting in April on a
system-by-system basis, according to MediaOne spokesman Dave Wood. MediaOne Express
customers will have access to new Road Runner content as a result.
The Beach Boys' song will convey what subscribers
really do with their Road Runner service, which is getting around, "not
HTTP-ing," he said, using Internet language.
The campaign will also tie into the Road Runner cartoon
character, Evard said, because "he's fast, fun and friendly, too."
Time Warner Cable, MediaOne and other Road Runner
affiliates will determine when and how they'll use the "I Get Around"
marketing materials, which include customized television spots that will be reinforced by
print ads and direct-mail pieces.
Time Warner and MediaOne announced their Road Runner joint
venture in December 1997.
Evard said the "I Get Around" theme was designed
to appeal to a cross-generational audience. The ads -- which include both generic branding
and subscriber-acquisition spots -- attempt to target both beginners and online experts.
"We are well beyond the early adopter at this
stage," and moving toward the mass market, Evard said, noting that Road Runner has
reached penetration rates of as high as 13.9 percent of homes passed in Portland, Maine.
Although the "I Get Around" campaign is expected
to launch broadly in Road Runner markets starting next month, it has already gotten some
play, starting with an appearance during the Super Bowl in the Albany, N.Y., market.
In addition to attracting new subscribers, the campaign was
designed to reinforce the positive feelings that customers have for their Road Runner
In Road Runner research, the service scored very high marks
for customer loyalty. Most subscribers -- 97 percent -- said they were very likely to keep
the service, and 89 percent said they were very likely to recommend it to a friend.
Road Runner's high-speed service passes about 8