Bringing The Internet To the Masses
For many years, the challenge of bringing the “Internet to the Masses” was viewed with enthusiasm as well as suspicion: would consumers be amenable to view the World Wide Web away from their computer? WebTV Networks, the first company to offer Internet access, through television, required proper positioning and sell-through in the technology and online service arenas. The business model was viewed as not a viable business by some major companies already entrenched in the traditional Internet access model that had a vested interest in WebTV’s failure.
- Brand WebTV as a simple, easy, inexpensive and VIABLE way to get internet on your universal communications device—the television.
- Establish the company’s leadership by making WebTV synonymous with Internet on TV, thereby demonstrating the need for the service and create the category.
- Achieve widespread positive and evangelical coverage across consumer, business, tech and trade media.
- Utilize the company’s Web site to intrigue and inform consumers, educate media and drive purchase interest.
- Provide momentum for the partners’ exit strategy.
- High profile launch in New York City attracted more than 100 media and more than 200 VIP’s in a massive series of living room environments with celebrities demonstrating specific category points of interest.
- Guerilla marketing created the “buzz” including building illuminations, street marketers and Web site activities.
- Reviewer program put WebTV in the hands of sequential influencers.
- Media tours educated press and consumers. “Rolling Thunder” announcements kept WebTV in the news both online and offline.
- Interviews, speaking opps and by-lined articles kept the founders front and center among all influencers.
- The comprehensive campaign drove competition from the marketplace.
- The founders achieved their exit strategy in less than two years with its sale to Microsoft for more than $345 million.
- WebTV successfully launched Internet TV category; branded as leader and established proof of concept.
- “Rolling Thunder” kept WebTV top-of-mind with massive coverage in BusinessWeek, Newsweek, People, USA Today, Rolling Stone and all four networks… The launch was lauded as the second most talked about story in the country, according to Ad Age.