The Communication Studio

Interactive Advertising


In 1983 Time's newly created Teletext division planned to roll out an interactive cabletext "interactive magazine" service to the home, to be delivered via cable TV channel.

BBDO selected The Communication Studio to create the interactive online advertising campaigns for flagship clients Pillsbury and Dodge.

The Value Proposition

Pillsbury recipe ad

Pillsbury product ad

Dodge ad

Dodge product info site

Dodge Protection Plan


Time Teletext partnered with six major agencies to produce direct marketing for the new medium, which was to reside within their electronic magazine format as a dedicated interactive channel on your cable TV service.

How would we configure marketing messaging that could be delivered on a new medium that was both untried - and also limited in its graphical sophistication?

BBDO chose to explore the full range of product messaging.


  • big ticket item
  • complex set of decision attributes
  • longer customer journey


  • commodity products
  • repeat buying

The challenge was to create appropriate online campaigns for two very different product lines: Baking Goods and Automobiles.

the Environment

Time had a well-thought-out, but constrained, "template" for page layout which echoed a traditional publishing model. The technology platform offered only very limited interactivity (You used the numeric keypad on your cable TV controller to navigate through pages). The graphical palette offered onlty 6 colors and 8 levels of grey. You could draw shapes, but they were still fairly "jaggy". Pretty rudimentary by today's standards. Certainly couldn't compete with the visual sophistication of print or video. There was no scrolling in these early screens. What you saw was what you got.

There was a "gee whiz" factor to the interactivity that was charming - But it also meant that there was a barrier to ease-of-use.


We produced whimsical "attractor" insertion ads in an online electronic magazine section for both clients. These were either:

  • Small "banner-like" (about 1/10 of the screen size) - only room enough for a simple image, afew words, and a link. They were at the bottom of the page, next to the navigation menu.
  • Larger 1/2 page ads. Still limited, but able to handle more message. They were as big as the text content of the magazine.

These attractors in turn pointed you to a standalone advertising sub-site that contained full-page animated advertising.

We also customized the content and structure of our ads in order to do some more appropriately targeted campaigns for both clients.


  • We created a "cookbook" database. It was a series of illustrated recipes (2-3 screens apiece) which were updated on a regular basis.
  • The intention was to build brand loyalty by offering new and helpful information as a teaser.


We presented a whole brochure of in-depth information about their featured autos in a separate 50-page site. The challenge was to So we created a "game" environment which got visitors to collect clues - which would entitle them to a prize that they could collect at a local Dodge dealership. We also localized the advertising message with information and links to the local Dodge dealerships.