Update: Fiberlink Begins Retro Campaign

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Fiberlink, Blue Bell, PA, has started its first major direct marketing campaign modeled after the old serial western and murder mysteries of the 1940s in an effort to build brand awareness and generate new sales leads. The campaign, which was designed by Hot Productions, Philadelphia, is centered around the enterprise service provider's fictional fedora and trench coat-wearing hero named Link Strong.


"We felt that a lot of the business advertising going on right now was missing the mark," said Bill Wagner, executive vice president of marketing at Fiberlink. "So we wanted to do something that would state our benefits and allow both the audience and us to have fun."


After deciding to go with the noir/superhero-type character, which he describes as a cross between Superman and Dick Tracy, Wagner said, he wanted to build "connectivity" between the character and the target audience by giving it a face they could relate to. So he became "this 'Road Warrior'-type" businessman who is always traveling and needs to connect back to his company's database and how Fiberlink helps him connect to it anywhere, anytime.


Starting next month, Fiberlink will be sending two direct mail pieces to chief information officers and information technology directors for large corporations in the Fortune 2000 category. Both mailings will have approximately 8,000 pieces, with the first serving as a teaser for the second.


"The first will be a teaser-postcard with a picture of Link telling them that they will be hearing from him soon along with a few questions on what its employees' remote networking needs are," Wagner said. "Then a week or two later, they will receive a 2 1/2-by-3-feet box with a label proclaiming 'Let me out, I am here to help.' "


The box will contain a 48-inch stand-up cardboard cutout of Link that they can keep in their office. The piece will include details on how to take part and win a contest, the prize for which has yet to be determined. But Wagner said it will be along the lines of a trip around the world or to some exotic location.


Those wanting to participate in the contest have a picture taken with Link, but to do so they must arrange for the listed Fiberlink representative to take it.


"This gets our rep in the door," Wagner explained.


Fiberlink will be contacting some previous customers with the direct mail portion of the campaign, but for the most part, it is more geared more toward acquiring and drumming up interest in new customers in an effort to build awareness within the space. It got the names of its targets from a database of information on companies such as its number of remote offices, its IT needs and its number of laptops.


"Our main audience is a company with a large number of employees that travel a lot and need to log on every night and connect with their company's database," Wagner said.


Both pieces will also direct people to either call a toll-free number or visit the Fiberlink Web site. And the pieces will be more benefit driven with a small amount of text.


The print version of this business-to-business campaign kicked off late last month with the first of six print ads called "The Adventures of Link Strong" running in Information Week and The Wall Street Journal. The title of the first ad, "How to Win on the Road," is also the theme of the campaign, Wagner said. The ads do not push any particular products or services but mention the benefits Fiberlink can provide and direct people to its Web site or to call a toll-free number for more information.


The second ad, titled "Big Boys Play for Keeps," began running this week and will be appearing in PC Week and Network Computing as well. The print ads will run through June.


"In keeping with the idea of making it fun, we didn't want to make him this stressed-out individual in need of help, like a lot of the companies in our market do," Wagner said. "The campaign is designed around his adventures so that individuals will continue to look for each of the following ads. At the bottom of every ad we ask them to keep a lookout for Link Strong's next adventure. So far the print ad has generated a good response."


The Web component will consist of e-mailing to people who have responded to the print ads or direct mail pieces, as well as some people who have not previously responded or been contacted by Fiberlink.
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