PointCast: At an Office Near You

By Joan Voight

SAN FRANCISCO–Blazing Paradigm attempts to show business professionals why they might want to use an Internet news service at work in a humorous new television campaign. The ads are the first broadcast work for client PointCast, a Cupertino, Calif.-based pioneer in the field of on-line news services that are broadcast directly to a user’s computer screen.

The San Francisco agency conceived, directed and produced two television commercials that broke last weekend on CNN and other cable news programs.

‘PointCast is a consumer-oriented product that is used in the workplace,’ said agency principal Sam Pond. ‘The ads have to walk the line’ between being entertaining and businesslike, and must appeal to office staffers as well as supervisors. ‘The message is that getting news and information this way can empower people so they can do their jobs better,’ he said. ‘Our ads take a slightly nutty turn, but I think the idea is clear.’

Critics of such Internet services consider them unnecessary distractions for office employees who might find the changing flow of information more interesting than doing their jobs.

In one execution, an avant-garde furniture designer in his trendy showroom tells how he uses the service to get all the world and business news and ‘occasionally inspiration.’ The shot cuts away to a PointCast headline: ‘New consumer trend: tropical fish.’ The next scene shows an average guy at home in a custom recliner with a swiveling fish tank attached.

The TV spots have no tagline, but conclude with the client’s Internet address.

Pond worked on the campaign with creative director and art director Ron Walter and copywriter Victor Camozzi. Pond and Walter directed the commercials.

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