Highway One Tapped to Get More Seniors Online

Ending a recent new-business drought, Highway One here has landed the ad account of a company that helps seniors use computers and the Web.

Highway One picked up the SeniorSurfers business last week. The shop would not say if there was a review for the account. Billings were not disclosed.

Agency creatives and company executives said the business could expand in the near future as older citizens surf the Internet in increasing numbers.

According to the company, the number of people over 55 who use the Internet will double in the next two years. The company has established 11 training labs in California and plans to expand to other states.

“Our mission is to provide the services needed to help seniors enjoy the full range of benefits and excitement of computers and the Internet,” SeniorSurfers CEO Meredith Taylor said. “Highway One has an understanding of these consumers and the importance of creating a peer environment for learning. Many [seniors] are intimidated by technology, but our training approach helps take the edge off that fear.”

SeniorSurfers teaches basic and advanced computer and Internet skills to older citizens in homes, independent living centers, senior centers and company labs.

The client also helps seniors purchase and install computers—an involved process that many say often stops seniors from getting online.

Highway One CEO David Brown said it will be a tougher task to get seniors wired than teenagers or young adults. “The over-55s are a challenging audience to market to,” he said. “They demand clarity and simplicity. They have been encouraged by their children and grandchildren to get onto the Internet. This is a way to accomplish that—an easy way for them to learn new skills from their peers.”

Agency executives said ads will run in “a wide range of media,” but did not elaborate. It is not clear when new work might break.

SeniorSurfers was founded by Stuart Taylor, 69, who was frustrated with the lack of personalized computer training and found himself shut out of the Information Age.

Highway One also works with Sage Software, Riverstone Networks and The Standard.