Wieden Extends AOL’s Top Speed Message

LOS ANGELES AOL will continue its Super Bowl campaign for AOL 9.0 with Top Speed this Sunday on the Daytona 500 broadcast, said Derek Koenig, vice president of advertising for the Time Warner Internet unit. A 30-second TV spot created by Wieden + Kennedy will be the 10th of the series.

The execution will feature race-car driver Richard Childress in conversation with Mikey Teutul, the youngest son of the family from the Discovery Channel series American Chopper, featured in six teasers and three Super Bowl spots.

“We’re extremely excited about the campaign with the Teutuls,” Koenig said from Dulles, Va. “The feedback we’ve had from the Super Bowl spots is extremely positive and we’re looking forward to leveraging them more across the next weeks. The response to Top Speed has far surpassed our projections.”

Koenig said the spots are “part of an integrated promotion. The Super Bowl was for the higher-end visibility. Other spots will stress education and a call to action” intended to lead to subscriber enrollments.

Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, owns the AOL Chevrolet that races in Nascar events such as Sunday’s contest. In the spot, Childress and Mikey Teutul talk in the parking lot of the Performance Race Training Center about achieving top speed. It’s never made explicit why Childress would recognize Teutul. “I guess you have to assume that he’s seen the Super Bowl commercials,” said Trish Adams, group account director at independent Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore. “Childress is asking what makes a car go faster. And it turns out Mikey doesn’t have a good answer.”

Adams said “the campaign is well liked by the client and has gotten a good consumer response.” Despite the AOL Super Bowl spots not polling at the top of consumer favorites, neither did the work draw ire for being lowbrow or lewd. “It wasn’t by design that we made a family-friendly campaign the year so many Super Bowl spots offended people,” she said, “but the agency doesn’t make sophomoric spots.”

The spot was produced before the Super Bowl and also directed by Hungry Man’s Hank Perlman. Adams said Teutul showed up with his “black shorts and OCC [Orange County Choppers] T-shirt, which became his uniform. He was very true to form: Genuine and fun to work with.”

Initiative, New York, performs media-buying duties.