Microsoft Network (MSN) is planning a 7m advertising campaign to reach parity with CompuServe’s ten-year lead in the UK’s Internet service provider market.
The Bill Gates-owned company is aiming to become the first Internet operation to go on TV to advertise its specific service.
The 7m budget, expected to be confirmed at the end of the month, represents roughly twice the spend of any similar UK pro-vider and is more than double last year’s.
MSN head of marketing Taylor Collier says: “The UK market is becoming fierce and we think the time could be right to invest in the brand by going on TV.”
CompuServe is the leading content provider in the UK, claiming 450,000 members, followed by America Online with 150,000 and MSN with 90,000.
Collier says that he aims to be within “spitting distance of CompuServe by the end of the year”.
MSN will keep up brand awareness by continuing its high-profile press and poster campaign throughout the year.
All advertising is handled by agency EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper.
MSN says the company plans a “substantial” media stunt next month, involving all the areas of Microsoft’s Internet products and services.