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  • Writer's pictureDrew Allen

Selling the internet by post

We’ve come a long way since 1996. Or was it ’97? Well, it’s so long ago I can’t rightly remember. I am thinking about the fact that sometime during this period we were very excited to be engaged in TimeWarner AOL’s big push to turn-on an unsuspecting public to the internet.

And as you’d expect from a company of their might, there was no messing. Mail drops or bombardments weekly, across the nation. I had the slightly surreal experience of signing-off creative one day, and still fresh in my mind, finding it land on my doormat a few days later. That’s how fast they were peddling.

What was inside? A CD, that contained a dial-up App to AOL’s services. Mass marketing not by TV but by mail. The expense and logistics made my head spin and still does… in CD manufacture, ‘z-cards’, packing, unique user codes - and of course the Royal Mail were also big winners.

Being so close to it, we were enthused by the possibilities, even though it was visually crude and painfully slow. WOW! One day, we’ll never have to leave home again!.... was the mind-boggling realisation in our studio. We embraced it and the potential to engage audiences with - less to read and more to watch - how cool!

Even 10 years later, with the internet established, we were still having to send out CDs by post because the bandwidth wasn’t big enough to squeeze our ambitions down. What with?

Less to read, more to watch:

  • animations, (post-production sector)

  • films, user experience (care sector)

  • interactive tool kits (electricity sector)

  • talking heads films - recruitment drive (construction sector)

Fast forward, to now, and by a twist of fate, we find ourselves blighted by Covid-19 and I am thinking that if it had been just three years earlier, the infrastructure that we have lent on so heavily to keep the wheels of commerce turning and our hearts warm just wouldn’t have been up to the job. What then?

It seems that the early sentiment of ‘WOW! one day we’ll never have to go out again’, nearly came true. And while we waited anxiously for the superfast development of a vaccine, we totally relied on a superfast internet to hold us all together.



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