AOL UK hires marketer to push free ISP

AOL UK, the Internet service provider (ISP), has appointed marketing consultant Keith Hawkins as marketing director to oversee the launch of the subscription-free Internet access service, Netscape Online.

Hawkins replaces Karen Thompson, who was recently promoted to managing director. He will be responsible for developing overall brand strategy, including Compuserve, the business ISP which AOL acquired last year.

Hawkins will oversee a &£3m advertising budget, and report to Thompson, who took over from acting managing director David Phillips two weeks ago.

An advertising campaign created by Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan breaks this week, and will seek to position Netscape Online as an alternative to other subscription-free services.

It will use TV, press and posters, with media bought by BBJ Media Services.

Hawkins, who has been working as a marketing consultant for AOL for the past three months, was previously senior brand manager at Seagram, and marketing manager at The Mirror Group.

He says: “We have the multibrand strategy to give the UK market what it wants, supported by the number one Internet company worldwide.”

Until late last year AOL (America Online) was the UK’s most popular ISP, but was hit by a number of free ISP launches, including Dixon’s Freeserve and The Sun’s CurrantBun.com.

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