Excite in ‘mould-breaking’ ad drive

Excite is running a new upbeat TV and press campaign to create a more ‘approachable’ image

The battle of the first generation Web brands hots up this week with the launch of a TV and press campaign for Excite.

The search engine and portal was the first in its market to go on UK TV back in March 1999. That campaign originated in the US and emphasised how Excite can make using the Web easy.

Since then, arch-rivals such as Yahoo! and Lycos have increased their offline advertising and a number of other search engines and portals have hit the market.

Excite claims its awareness has increased “significantly” since the first ad campaign. But it has now decided to run a UK and Europe-specific ad campaign, created by BBH. The emphasis this time is on presenting a more upbeat image, summed up by the slogan “Don’t get bogged down, get Excited!”

“It’s about not fearing the technological revolution,” says John O’Keeffe, creative director at BBH London. “We’re trying to tell people: whatever you like is the stuff that will survive and be relevant to your life in the new technology age. Excite is a conduit to more fun – it is friendly and approachable.”

O’Keeffe says the previous Excite campaign, tweaked for the UK by Henry Cole & Associates, “suggested a level of complexity about the Internet that we want to avoid. We don’t want people to see any complexity in it at all, just what it can do for them.”

Excite Europe managing director Evan Rudowski adds that Excite is positioned as “much more than a search engine”, in contrast to rival Lycos, whose advertising uses the metaphor of a dog going to fetch information. “Excite is about content in its own right, it is your guide to the future,” he says.

MMXI Europe and NetValue recently declared Excite the sixth and seventh most popular UK website, respectively. According to the same research companies, it comes in second and third when judged against other portals. By ad revenue it is first, according to Rudowski.

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