B-R Links HiSpeed Logo to Nascar Racing

LOS ANGELES Bernstein-Rein links United Online’s NetZero logo to racing in an ad touting the service’s HiSpeed dial-up service.

A 30-second spot from the Kansas City, Mo., agency, scheduled to break during NBC’s telecast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, depicts NetZero Nascar driver Ward Burton waking up in a bedroom plastered with his sponsor’s red-and-black HiSpeed logo.

As he goes through his morning routine, a voiceover says, “For Nascar driver Ward Burton, one of the benefits of driving the NetZero high-speed car is that he gets his very own high-speed Internet service. With NetZero HiSpeed he can surf the Web up to five times faster. Yes, NetZero HiSpeed gives Ward all the speed he can handle. And he’s not afraid of speed.”

Burton responds, “It’s this logo thing that’s startin’ to scare me.” As he sits at his computer, he notices that his dog has been painted in the HiSpeed colors. “I’ve got to have a talk with those boys,” he concludes.

“That was done entirely with a computer,” said Brian Woods, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of United Online, Westlake Village, Calif. “No dog was actually painted.”

Woods said that since United began advertising its low-cost Internet service nine months ago, 22 percent of subscribers, 638,000, have signed on to HiSpeed, representing both new customers and subscriber upgrades.

He said the result is so encouraging that 80 percent of the marketing budget will be directed toward HiSpeed.

“We found a real hot button,” Woods said. “People are interested in surfing faster, but not at 50 bucks a month.”