TBWA Chiat/Day Deflates Hype Surrounding Internet For Prodigy

NEW YORK-In its first campaign for Prodigy since winning the account earlier this year, TBWA Chiat/Day’s New York office lampoons Internet hype and pokes fun at buzzwords such as “surfing.”
The estimated $30 million campaign breaks Oct. 22 in 18 U.S. markets with three 30-second TV spots. The ads tell users of Prodigy Internet service that they should log on for what they need-and then log off and get on with their real lives.
In one spot, “Weekend,” a man complains to his buddies that rather than being online all weekend, he was “stuck playing ball in the park and having a barbecue and beer with some friends.” Another contrasts Web surfers staring at a computer screen with wave riders. The spots end with the voiceover, “Prodigy Internet. It’s a tool for living.”
Prodigy believes consumers are frustrated and overwhelmed by the Internet. The message is that Prodigy “will help people get on fast, get what they need easily and get off line,” said client marketing vice president Jim L’Heureux.
Eric McClellan, the agency’s executive creative director, said the ads are not a risky “anti-Internet” strategy. “We’re saying that [the Internet] is great-but you should use it for a reason. It’s a tool for living, not a cultural phenomenon.”
The client’s previous agency, Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano in New York, used the theme “Make it yours” for Prodigy Internet. Prodigy has struggled to keep pace with rivals America Online and CompuServe in recent years.