Y&R Signs On To Covad’s Web Service

Young & Rubicam has been awarded the estimated $20-30 million ad account of high-speed Internet access provider Covad Communications Co. without a review.
The San Francisco shop had been doing brand consulting work for the client while Covad was making plans to conduct a formal agency review, sources said. The client had initially tapped consultancy Select Resources International, Los Angeles, to manage that review, and SRI had contacted a handful of shops earlier this month. But Covad executives ditched the review because they wanted to move quickly on their advertising plans.
“We have selected Y&R to handle our advertising,” said Dustin Grosse, director of brand management for the client. “We were very pleased with the work [Y&R unit] Wunderman Cato Johnson was doing, and we wanted to continue that relationship, so we decided to also work with Y&R.”
Relationship marketing firm WCJ, which is owned by Y&R, has been handling direct marketing efforts for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based client for some time, according to sources.
Sources said Y&R’s staff is already working on creative for the client. Covad is considering a broad spectrum of media, including TV, online and outdoor, for its branding campaign, due to launch later this year. For the rest of ’99, the client does not plan to spend more than $10 million. But sources said the budget could increase by another $15-20 million in 2000.
Covad’s high-speed Web access technology is a digital subscriber line (DSL) service. DSL allows users to maintain a continuous high-speed connection to the Internet through copper wires separate from phone lines. This enables users to surf the Web without tying up the phone.
Covad competes with AT&T Broadband & Internet Services’ TCI Home, Pacific Bell’s Pac Bell Internet and other services.
Covad will likely promote a new, lower-priced version of its current service. Its “TeleSurfer Pro” sells for $49 a month, with additional charges for Internet access.