Arnold S.F. Unit Launches Groovy Ads for Inktomi

A blazing heart, a cloud-filled sky and psychedelic designs define an $8 million push from Arnold Ingalls Moranville for Internet technology provider Inktomi of Foster City, Calif.

In keeping with other recent campaigns for companies that deal primarily with the Web, the ads refer little to the product and instead try to acquaint users with the brand.

“Our aim was to keep the tech minimum and just emphasize that this is technology you need,” said Penny Baldwin, president of the San Francisco-based unit of Arnold Communications in Boston.

Apparently, the approach worked. Baldwin said the spots and an accompanying print campaign resonated as well with technology professionals as they did with general consumers dur-ing focus group testing.

“People don’t care how this manifested,” Baldwin said. “What we’ve tried to show is that it is in someway essential to their Internet experience.”

In the first 30-second spot titled “Mind,” loud, ’60s-style music plays while different shapes and designs flash across the screen. The spot says that your mind is “essential to you,” and then suggests that Inktomi technology is necessary for a completely satisfying Internet experience.

The spots end with the tagline, “Essential to the Internet.”

Creative and managing director David Moranville said the tough part of designing the ads was finding a way to make new technology resonate with consumers.

“The beginning of this was a lot like other companies that are planning their space in the Internet world,” he said. “What we wanted to show was that Inktomi speaks to the quality of your Internet experience.”

Baldwin said the commercials will run in spot markets around the country and may also appear in other countries.

Inktomi ads target executives of Yahoo, America Online and similar Internet companies. Inktomi makes software products such as Traffic Server and Search Engine, which are used to create and maintain Internet infrastructures for these companies.