Penny-a-minute ambassador of the AOL generation.
"Connie is one of the most recognised faces of TV advertising and we often get comments from people about her. This campaign reveals a more modern look for our genie - she has already helped AOL to become one of the most well-known and trusted online brands in the UK and we believe that the new-look Connie will be equally recognisable to potential and existing members."
Karen Thomson, AOL UK CEO
The brainchild of the then Marketing Director of AOL UK, Karen Thomson, Connie was unleashed in 1998 with a series of adverts defining her as the ultimate geek fantasy; she appears in your bedroom, she helps you with your computer, and she only costs a penny a minute. Amazing, right?
But behind the corporate disguise of a digitally-enhanced1 dress and ridiculous bob haircut is the actress Rachel Willis whose roles to date outside the AOL adverts start and end with a bit part as a stewardess in Luc Besson's film, The Fifth Element. She's also the daughter of the Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis with whom she shares a house with in Kennington, South London.
She made the UK national news on 9th May 2002, when she became the victim of an attack by a thief who got away with her mobile phone, although only after her resistance led to kicks and a punch in the face. Quoth she:
"It happened so quickly, your instant reaction is to hang on, which I did - but then he got violent. I was really, really shaken up but it could have been a lot worse. I feel quite traumatised."
1Animated with the highlights and benefits of AOL's service, the phrase 'digitally enhanced' is highly debatable.
Metro newspaper, 09.05:02