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Draft, Verizon DSL Diss Dial-up

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NEW YORK Verizon DSL breaks three TV spots and two radio ads this week promoting its new offer of DSL service for $14.95 per month for the first year.

The ads, by Draft in New York, use the tagline, "We never stop working for you," and aim to reach customers dissatisfied with dial-up service. Nearly 50 percent of Americans still use dial-up Internet service, said Nancy Grebey, managing director at Draft.

Directed by Tom Schiller of GO Films, two spots highlight the frustrations of streaming content from the content's point of view. In "Happy Cat," an animated feline begins singing his wishes for an Internet user's "Happy Cat Birthday," while the computer slowly downloads the rest of his body. Changing gears quickly from a high-pitched, kiddie voice to that of a gruff old man, the cat exclaims, "Hey, where's the rest of me? Oh, you've got dial-up. I don't have time to wait for my legs to show up. Happy Cat's got 25 more birthdays to do."

In "Singing Sensation," a sassy, pixilated diva pronounces, "Sorry honey, you cannot handle me with your slow dial-up. You just don't have the bandwidth." A voiceover then intones, "Dial-up makes even simple stuff impossible," before launching into the details of the deal.

A third ad, by David McNamara of Nonfiction Spots, uses family testimonials about why they ditched dial-up for DSL in a classic direct-response appeal. Radio ads pick up the Happy Cat and testimonial themes, said Amarilis Correa, management supervisor at Draft.

"Our creative team has developed a campaign that will bring both smiles and sales," said Pat McGuire, senior vice president and group creative director at Draft New York, said in a statement. "We're confident this new work will not only raise awareness for the new offer but will result in many new and happy Verizon DSL customers."

The spots will air nationally through the end of 2005 on network channels including ABC, CBS and NBC. ID Media in New York handled media planning and buying for the direct-response TV effort. Zenith handled media for the awareness campaign. Spending was undisclosed.