MSN TV Eyes Older Consumers

Microsoft’s MSN division has launched a direct response effort aimed at luring older Americans to the Internet.

The $5 million holiday campaign from Euro RSCG Tyee MCM in Portland, Ore., stresses the ease of use and affordability of MSN TV, the company’s TV-based Web service.

Three TV spots, cut into one- and two-minute executions, are tagged, “Easy to use. Affordable to own.” That line has been used in brochures and other materials since June, when MSN TV announced its first branded Internet receiver, said Sam Klepper, senior director of marketing for the Mountain View, Calif.-based client.

The ads feature older people of various ethnic backgrounds using MSN TV. Two ads stress the social and family benefits of the service. A third has various people holding the system’s receiver. Each completes the sentence: “This is my …” with words including “mail,” “cookbook” and “travel agent.”

The ads show the installation procedure and outline an offer of $99 for the receiver plus monthly service starting at $9.95, with two months free. A toll-free number and retail-outlet information are also given.

“This product is a great solution for the person who doesn’t have a computer in their home and is thinking about getting online,” said Klepper, adding that older people “have a much higher satisfaction level with the service and lower churn.”

The ads are running nationwide on cable through mid-January and on network TV in Miami, Tampa, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Des Moines, Iowa. Also, radio, print and direct mail will target consumers over 50.

Sam Lawrence, vp of marketing and business dev elopment for the agency, said direct “gives immediate accountability on a daily basis. Plus, you get more time to demonstrate the product, show how easy it is to get online and spend some time on product benefits.”

Microsoft acquired WebTV in 1997 and renamed it MSN TV in 2001.