FCB Recasting WebTV

Foote, Cone & Belding’s first ads for WebTV reposition the product as a premium interactive TV service rather than an inexpensive way to send e-mail and cruise the Web.
The campaign from the San Francisco agency consists of a mysterious 60-second teaser TV spot that broke last week and six 30-second spots that begin rolling out this week. The agency won the $50 million account in July.
Ads, aimed at 25- to 49-year-old professionals rather than the over-40 crowd targeted previously, use humorous scenarios of people watching TV. They use no tagline, closing instead with the company logo.
“Most people are aware of our brand. This campaign is designed to make them aware that we offer new services,” said Sam Klepper, client senior director of consumer marketing. “Past ads told what WebTV does,” while these ads show what people can do with WebTV, he added.
Last month the Microsoft-owned client, based in Palo Alto, Calif., launched services that allow users to interact with certain programs. For example, they can compete in quiz shows, pause live sports events and access deeper content.
In the teaser ad, TV sets begin independently channel surfing until the phrase “I could do more” is formed. In the other ads, people in TV programs–including a football player and a game show host–unexpectedly start talking directly to viewers about WebTV benefits.
The spots will air on cable and network programming until the end of the year. –with Todd Wasserman