Road Runner DRTV Effort Seeks Distance From Rivals

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Road Runner High Speed Online, a broadband Internet service provider, is running a humorous direct response television campaign to differentiate the brand from its competition while generating leads.

The three-spot campaign from RTCRM, Washington, DC, includes a 30-second Broadway-style musical and a riff on classic musical cartoons like "What's Opera Doc" and "The Rabbit of Seville." The use of music and comedy fits with the Road Runner brand's personality.

"This is a continued effort for us to differentiate the brand by using a combination of live action and animation," said Becky Chidester, president/CEO of RTCRM. "Because of the brand and the character of Road Runner, we have the opportunity to move this from a rational space to an emotional space."

The spots show dancing and music with a mix of real people and animated characters, including the Road Runner. Tom Schiller of New York-based Go Film and a veteran of the "Saturday Night Live" TV show directed the spots.

As planned, the spots are running through Dec. 19 in 60 markets nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Houston and Charlotte, NC. Road Runner parent Time Warner Cable serves 4 million households in these markets.

Road Runner intends to convert its own customer base to switch from dialup connections to the faster cable Internet connections. Road Runner High Speed Online typically costs $49 a month to subscribe, competing with offerings from Verizon, Qwest and SBC as well as fellow Time Warner property AOL.

The DRTV effort requires viewers to call a toll-free number or visit a designated Web site to sign up. The phone numbers and offers vary by market.

Time Warner Cable handled the media buying inhouse, placing the spots on channels like Food Network and ESPN. The TV buy is supported with print, direct mail, billboards and online ads as well as marketing geared to Hispanics.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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