Mining Co. Launches Today

By Laura Rich and Teresa Andreoli

NEW YORK–The Mining Co., the Web-based network of special interest sites created by former MCI/News Corp. chief executive Scott Kurnit, launches today with a grassroots-oriented campaign from Frierson + Mee and banner ads from SiteSpecific.

The theme for the $3-5 million campaign is ‘Revolution,’ explained Kurnit. On billboards in New York, San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco, a red background will carry the image of a miner’s pick and the words ‘Take Back the Net!’ in a Soviet-style typeface, according to agency partner John Frierson.

‘Guides,’ who create and maintain sites on The Mining Co., will be featured in posters and on New York market radio commercials. These staffers submitted their own photos for the outdoor work, and the radio ad was recorded in F+M’s office.

Posing as revolutionaries in the radio advertisement, the guides chant ‘the Net sucks!’ to show empathy for computer users frustrated by Web information overload.

Guides are also responsible for handing out flyers and stickers in their hometowns. This approach comes from the client’s grassroots marketing philosophy, Frierson said.

All components of the campaign will target ‘the typical Web user,’ according to Susan Pechman, head of marketing for the client.

‘To get traffic, you need a good, distinct message, and you need to make a lot of noise,’ said Kurnit.

As for the brand image itself, ‘the campaign had to pass the ‘stickie’ test,’ said Kurnit.

Banners also launch today on search engines and high-traffic content sites. SiteSpecific adapted the F+M campaign in animated banners. One execution opens with an image of a stadium where the crowd raises letter signs to form the phrase ‘Take Back the Net!’ Other banner ads mimic a news flash and use

copy along the lines of: ‘We interrupt this program ‘

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