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May 12, 2011

2011 CableFAXIES Awards

The Almighty CableFAXIE...
Many have tried to match the power of the Faxie and some have paid the ultimate price for flying so close to the Sun. The honorees profiled below all are worthy of the coveted Faxie nod that literally has made careers and, we believe, promoted truth, justice and the American Way.

Advertising Campaign
For a Network

Winner
The Hub
Hub Launch
Discovery faced a big advertising challenge when it inked a deal with Hasbro to rebrand Discovery Kids into The Hub, a kids net that would combine the fun-and-play feel of Hasbro products with Discovery’s own “curiosity” theme. Of course, there were skeptics and doubters. And to be sure, this was more than a rebrand. It was a re-imagining. Yet Discovery pulled it off largely through a well-conceived ad campaign that combined its mission with Hasbro’s to create a new “playful, clever and transformative” mantra. In fact, the campaign focused on 3 tracks: Kids 6-11 for after-school viewing; families that could enjoy the new game show “Family Game Night;” and moms of pre-schoolers aimed at daytime content. Spot buys, print, outdoor, retail promo, online ads and even in-school marketing (80K The Hub posters and 1.6mln bookmarks given away in more than 8K classrooms) rounded out this skillful re-launch.

Honorable Mentions
TBS – Conan on TBS
Did anyone not know that Conan was moving from NBC to TBS? Exactly.

TLC – TLC Summer
Just an excellent campaign fusing all the fun of summer into an exciting brew for TLC fans and would-be fans alike.


Advertising Campaign
For a Single Program

Winner
Oxygen Media
Hair Battle Spectacular Marketing Campaign
Oxygen set out to educate its audience about the little-known world of “Fantasy Hair” before this premiere, and it did so with the kind of finesse and savvy that any Fantasy Hair Diva worth his or her follicles would definitely appreciate. The campaign included phone kiosks, subway 2-sheets, urban panels, bus sides and tails, as well as a multiplatform partnership with OK! Magazine, and both national and local cable buys. A live event in Times Square on premiere day involved 5 show contestants battling it out to create hairstyles themed after NYC’s 5 boroughs. The result: “Hair Battle Spectacular” was the most watched freshman series in net history in Oxygen’s target demos, with a digital ad campaign that overdelivered by 20%. That’s some big hair!

Honorable Mentions
IFC - The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Looking to target that elusive 18-34 demo, IFC launched a multi-faceted campaign with a national reach and focus on key markets, including retail promos and plenty of digital juice, literally… as it included an iPhone app designed around the show’s fictional Thunder Muscle energy drink.

Investigation Discovery - Deadly Women Launch
ID hypertargeted 2 key, 40-something female demos: the “For Better or Worse” group (TV addicts, dominating, etc) and “Pragmatists” (upscale, educated, use TV for education). Together, these groups helped ID outperform the previous season by a whopping 55% in P25-54.

TLC - Next Great Baker
With this “Cake Boss” spin-off, TLC smartly touted Buddy Valastro’s brand as a blue-collar persona through myriad traditional spots and well integrated print, online and social media.

WE tv - Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best
A well-done and clever campaign on many levels. Our judges loved the art-wrapped moving trucks that drove around NYC, Philly and D.C. to play on Joan’s move to L.A.


Community Relations

Winner
Discovery Communications
Discovery Impact: Employee Volunteerism
Discovery likes to do things in a big way, and its 2-pronged approach to employee volunteerism in ’10 as it celebrated its 25th anniversary was no exception. The “Discover Your Impact (DYI) Day” involved a global day of volunteerism while its “Discovery Impact: Creating Change” event leveraged Discovery’s employee creativity and talent into a 12-hour marathon. Together, Discovery’s bold vision on both counts made it hard to beat in this category despite many worthy nominees (go cable!). In the end, more than 3K Discovery employees from 40 offices worldwide participated in DYI alone, beating the original goal of 2,500 participants. The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship says participation in these sorts of initiatives usually runs 30-40%; Discovery beat the average handily by engaging 75% of its employees. That should make all of cable proud.

Honorable Mentions
Epix - Waiting for Superman Virtual Town Hall
This streamed event moderated by Arianna Huffington helped stimulate awareness, interest and involvement in the much-lauded “Waiting for Superman” documentary while promoting the theatrical release. That’s our kind of synergy.   

NBCUniversal
USA Network Characters Unite Campaign
We’ve long been impressed with USA’s ongoing campaign to combat prejudice and intolerance by playing on its “characters welcome” credo. And the net continues to plow resources into it year after year.

Outdoor Channel - Outdoor Channel Corps
Outdoor’s excellent conservation campaign on National Public Lands Day helped foster ties with partners including everyone from the Safari Club to Comcast, with 2,500 volunteers collecting more than 3K lbs of debris and clearing 20 miles of trails and shorelines.



Corporate Social Responsibility/Green Campaign

Winner
Discovery Communications
Discovery Impact: Employee Volunteerism
It’s unusual that one campaign wins both the Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility awards, but Discovery simply rose above the pack with this comprehensive effort that involved the vast majority of its employees in a focused effort to make a difference: “Discover Your Impact (DYI) Day” and “Discovery Impact: Creating Change.” For Creating Change alone, Discovery employees donated more than 3K hours of their time, with 40 non-profits gaining publicity and other benefits. Because of the early success, Discovery has designated both the DYI and Creating Change events as annual initiatives.


Honorable Mentions
Big Ten Network - Give Big
With a mission to inspire service and sacrifice, Big Ten Net created 12 video profiles of individuals in the Big Ten community giving back.

BlueHighways TV
BlueHighways TV and Bresnan Celebrate Colorado Farm to Table Greenhouse
This event to dedicate a greenhouse that tripled Colorado Farm to Table’s capacity to provide fresh produce to food banks was a beautiful community get-together that highlighted the importance of helping the less fortunate.

Epix – Waiting for Superman Virtual Town Hall
It’s believed to be the first time a live streaming event has been used to promote a theatrical film release—and it’s only fitting that the film in question is an uplifting documentary about hope and education.

NBCUniversal
Green is Universal e-Cycling Events:
2010 Affiliate Promotion
NBCU has held several “e-cycling” events to keep consumer electronics and other gadgets from ending up in landfills and had collected nearly 3mln tons at last count.

Direct Response Marketing

Winner
Sportsman Channel - Welcome to the Family
Sportsman Channel wanted to get the word out about the whopping 82mln Americans who hunt, shoot and fish—and did so with great skill as it created a mailed direct-response piece that played on a mob-family theme and included custom-labeled pasta and spaghetti sauce. Mobster photos and “rap sheets” of Sportsman-owner Intermedia Outdoors’ top publication, TV show and Website rounded out the effort. A follow-up mailer contained a Sportsman-branded miniature brick with time-sensitive ad info tied to it—playing off the “brick-through-the-window” approach to making sure the message was received. All in all, our judges loved the creativity, humor and cleverness—and the campaign helped push ’10 ad revenue up nearly 40% over ’09.   


Honorable Mentions
Charter Communications
“Fall’s Coming. Start Smart with Charter”
Charter combined traditional advertising, social media and grassroots/guerrilla marketing tactics in the college market to saturate the back-to-school season. The 2-month campaign drove more than 12K calls, big increases in social media connections and huge brand benefits.

Cox Business Services
Cox Business – “The Future Looks Great from Here”
They say life comes in threes, and Cox built a direct-mail strategy around 3 mailings to be delivered 3 times during a customer’s first year with the MSO. The campaign led to a 17% reduction in customer calls and 35% increase in customer retention.


Integrated Marketing Campaign - Operators and Vendors

Winner
Cox Business Services
Custom Fit Cox Business Brand Campaign
It’s relatively straight-forward when you want to appeal to a business customer of a particular size. Cox Business Services faces the opposite challenge: it has Internet, data, voice and TV solutions for small, medium and large businesses. More than that, people know the Cox brand as a cable TV provider, not for its business services portfolio. To bolster unaided awareness, Cox Business unleashed a multi-platform campaign positioning itself as the solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The dramatic visuals showed employees struggling with ill-fitting technology. But once they switch to Cox Business, their technology transforms to the right size. Net total unaided awareness growth has jumped 83%.   

Honorable Mention
Time Warner Cable
Step Thru The Screen Experience at
NBA All-Star Jam Session 2010
Time Warner Cable’s booth at the NBA All-Star Game Jam Session created awareness of its regional sports net by allowing fans to sit behind a sports desk and talk basketball as the cameras rolled. TWC-branded videos were uploaded to YouTube, and the booth attracted nearly 100K visitors over 4 days, including NBA stars Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki.


Integrated Marketing Campaign - Programmers

Winner
HBO
Boardwalk Empire
HBO does more than make terrific television, it markets it smartly. For Boardwalk Empire’s launch last September, it positioned the series as an epic crime/period drama with marquee screenwriting from Emmy winner Terence Winter and directorial talent from Martin Scorsese. Targeting men and women 25+, HBO brought the series to the people via partnerships with retail, hotel and casino brands. Appropriately, in Atlantic City casinos Caesars and Harrah’s, HBO placed messaging in guests’ rooms and staged events throughout the property. It brought sections of the Atlantic City boardwalk to the street-front at Bloomingdales, complete with old street lights and rails. To tout the era of Prohibition, part of Boardwalk’s story line, bottles of Canadian Club carried special branding and bars in major cities held speakeasy parties, where you needed a secret “password” to enter. Empire premiered with a 10.1/14 HH rating, the best start for an HBO series since ’04. The ROI on media value to campaign cost was 5:1.

Honorable Mentions
TBS
Conan on TBS
In this social media age, TBS decided Conan’s launch marketing should be fan based. That’s why Conan revealed the show’s title via online video (nearly 1mln views), let fans pick opening-night guests and allowed fans to follow happenings at his office for 24 hours before the premiere via the coco cam. The premiere drew a robust 4.2mln viewers.

WE tv
2010/2011 Upfront Materials and Trade Company
There was no way media buyers could avoid keeping WE tv top of mind, what with the extensive billboard campaign on NYC buses, in train stations and in newspapers. Oh, and giving out WE tv-branded Kindles during upfront meetings didn’t hurt.


Marketing Campaign – Operators

Winner
Time Warner Cable
Payment Center Rebrand
Time Warner Cable’s goal was to transform its payment centers into true retail hubs that could properly showcase its products and services—with a bit of glitz. The challenge was designing the centers to appeal to both existing subs as well as sell prospects on the advantages of becoming a customer. As anyone who has seen the result can attest, the MSO succeeds on many levels. Its sleek centers radiate cool, offering tantalizing tech and demos—all within a modern décor that feeds the senses without overwhelming them. Distributors take note: Time Warner Cable is doing it right. And as more centers roll out this year, this MSO may just become the cool cat to beat on the street.


Honorable Mentions
Canoe Ventures
The EBIFany…
smaller versions were used as prizes in sweepstakes. There was even “a day in the life of a mascot” video launched on the Web, which showed the mascots as they visited Chicago and ate hot dogs, visited the Navy Pier and finally sat down to watch Big Ten Icons on TV. The show grabbed a 1.04HH rating, a Big Ten record for non-live shows.

Honorable Mentions
CMT
CMT Artists of the Year
Designed to attract 18-49s and go beyond CMT’s core to drive occasional viewers to watch the ’10 CMT Music Awards, CMT’s multi-level campaign included print and online, but also incentives for Starwood Hotel and Delta Airlines rewards members. CMT had its most-watched awards show to date (3mln total viewers, including 27% who had not watched CMT the previous month).

MLB Network
MLB Network Special Presentation:
1960 World Series Game 7
MLB Net smartly taped a special around this unearthed game—it was recently found in Bing Crosby’s basement—in Pittsburgh, whose Pirates won the contest with a dramatic home run. How’s this for hype? Every invitation to the taping was accepted, leading to a waiting list of 2K people.

Media Event - Operators

Winner
Time Warner Cable
Signature Home Launch Event

Talk about your dream house makeover. To tout its SignatureHome service to tech industry press last December, Time Warner Cable outfitted a tony NYC townhouse with enough high-tech gear to make an early adopter’s mouth water. Everything was first class. Journalists were taken to the home in branded Cadillac Escalades that featured a video screen showing the house’s highlights. Journalists were given personal tours or allowed to roam free, taking in a trio of 3DTVs, 9 laptops, 4 DVRs, 6 iPads and Xbox, Wii and Wideband Internet, of course. The house’s interior featured the work of Time Warner Cable partners Martha Stewart, Lacoste and “Real Housewife of NY” Jill Zarin, among others. A VIP party in the evening included a red carpet and celebs like Martha Stewart, Bobby Valentine and Jacqueline Bisset.
 
Honorable Mentions
Time Warner Cable West Region
Time Warner Business Class
Fiber Ring Launch Media Event
Our judges appreciated how Time Warner Cable West made a dry technical accomplishment—the completion of 16 coverage rings across CA to enhance voice, Internet, Ethernet and cable services to businesses—come alive for press and business clients. The tactic was a ring-based theme party featuring rhythmic gymnasts performing with hula hoops, special ring-shaped cakes topped with whipped cream and blueberries and goodie bags that included ring candies.

Time Warner Cable West Region
Time Warner Cable Masters in 3D
Seeing is believing, so Time Warner Cable West Region held a 2-day viewing party at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo in San Diego for the public and press so they could watch The Masters in 3D and be educated about cable’s plans for 3D.


Media Event - Programmers

Winner
ESPN
ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup Media Relations
In an impressive move, ESPN acknowledged criticism from soccer purists about its US coverage of previous World Cups and decided to change things. Central to this strategy was recruiting the world’s best soccer-booth talent and originating all coverage from the Cup site, South Africa. Beginning in June ’09, each month leading up to the Cup, ESPN sent out some 45 news releases providing insights about its planned Cup coverage. All this surrounded two media events. First, in December, ESPN invited US-based foreign press and bloggers to its headquarters in Bristol, CT, to discuss its shift in strategy and to celebrate World Cup Draw Day. Then in April, sports media were invited to NYC to get even more information about ESPN’s planned coverage. Eventually, the effort paid huge dividends, with media and fans lauding ESPN’s coverage.  

Honorable Mentions
HBO
Boardwalk Empire Caesar’s/
Harrah’s Hotel Domination Promotion
To tout the Atlantic city-based drama, HBO took over casinos and hotels there, scheduling activities with cast members, stationing greeters in 1920’s costumes, providing special Prohibition drinks and generally raising awareness of the series.  

Investigation Discovery
James Ellroy’s Underbelly Bus Tour of L.A.
One of the most memorable press trips ever. For 2 hours, charismatic crime author James Ellroy spoke nearly non-stop, describing famous LA-based murder cases and showing TCA reporters the locus in quo, the scene of the crime.

National Geographic Channel
Inside the State Department Screening
To tout its film about several days in the life of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, NatGeo managed to get the peripatetic cabinet member and a slew of her staff to attend a special public screening of the film. NatGeo also surprised the Secretary, unveiling a huge birthday cake in her honor.


Media Relations Campaign

Winner
National Geographic Channel
Great Migrations Communications Campaign

For National Geographic’s largest programming undertaking, its media relations team staged a multi-layered press campaign that included special screenings, a press trip to Kenya, mailing of nearly screeners and full-color books to 600 journalists and a special trade with ABC and Fox (the outlets received exclusive rights to footage in exchange for a coverage commitment). After introducing the series at TCA, special screenings were held in NY, LA and DC, and included interview opportunities and themed after-parties. Select world press were sent on a trip to Kenya that included visits to sites seen in Great Migrations, which was filmed on all 7 continents and took nearly three years in the field to make. In addition to the US debut, the series premiered in 330mln homes in 166 countries and 34 languages.    

Honorable Mentions
E! Entertainment Television
Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Season 5
To promote the new season, the entire Kardashian clan was deployed. Family members walked the red carpet, were interviewed at press junkets and appeared on late-night talk shows. The premiere (3.52HH rating) was E!’s 2nd-most watched telecast ever.  

ESPN
ESPN Films - 30 for 30
ESPN’s task was to get the film press to become aware of its 30th anniversary programming stunt, which had 30 well-known filmmakers creating hour-long sports-related docs. Extensive press releases, online activities and numerous screenings did the trick. The fact that most of the films were excellent gave the project momentum, too.

Showtime Networks
Episodes
Matt LeBlanc’s return to TV was the main focus of Showtime’s pitch, with the former Friends actor doing countless interviews and junkets. Critics were sent the full season of the series, whose premiere grabbed nearly 1mln viewers and retained 91% of “Californication’s” (its lead-in) audience.

History - America: The Story of US
To tout its landmark series, History set out a wide net for press, pitching the concept that this was the first time in 40 years that anybody had attempted to do a comprehensive history of America.  
Mobile Marketing Campaign

NBCUniversal
Syfy/Shazam Application
You’re excused for thinking the Shazam mobile app was good only for recognizing music. That’s its primary use, but Syfy and NBCUniversal’s Digital Distribution teamed with Shazam to allow Syfy viewers to deploy the app another way. Through numerous ads, viewers were urged to point their Shazam-enabled mobile phones at episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13. When they did, Shazam recognized the audio and sent data to users’ phones, including exclusive Syfy content from upcoming special episodes, information on a sweepstakes and a link to download Syfy eps on iTunes. Shazam also linked them to Syfy’s Facebook page and the Eureka show site, where they could download free Eureka wallpaper.

Honorable Mention
Bravo Media - Bravo/Foursquare Partnership
Sure, partnering with Foursquare to promote where the Top Chefs eat, Rachel Zoe shops and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger would go to meet a mate sounds obvious now. But remember Bravo was a pioneer on this. It joined with Foursquare when social media-based locational marketing was in its infancy.

Multicultural Marketing

Winner
International Media Distribution/MYX TV
MYX Mash

Sometimes we forget cable, at its roots, is about entertainment. That was IMD’s thinking when it staged a concert during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month last May in the San Francisco Bay area. The goal was to raise awareness of MYX, the Asian-American music network, available on Comcast. IMD secured T-Pain, Brown Eyed Girls and Bruno Mars to perform and covered the Web and other platforms with promotions. IMD also used social media after the event, with YouTube highlights receiving some 650K+ views. More than 4,500 fans attended the concert, as well as local government and Comcast officials.

Honorable Mentions
Cox Arizona
Cox Conexion Arizona Magazine
Cox sent this glossy lifestyle magazine to both Hispanic subs and non-subs; it reduced sub churn and induced non-subs to connect to Cox at a high rate.  

Cox Communications
Hispanic Celebrity Campaign
Cox tapped Si TV talent Christian Vera to be the face of its summer ad campaign, Cox’s first fully integrated campaign for the Hispanic market.

Eclipse Marketing Service Inc
Winter 2011 Nexos Latinos Magazine
Time Warner Cable NY, Retention Upgrade Version
Time Warner Cable sends this entertainment magazine to Hispanic subs in the NY DMA to motivate usage and promote retention.

Si TV - Model Latina NYC
Si TV’s multi-pronged effort to promote Season 3 involved live casting events, online and VOD activities. Casting attendance rose 100% from S2, and press hits jumped 25%.

PR Stunt

Winner
National Geographic Channel
Everyman Solitary Confinement
NatGeo put 3 volunteers in a simulation of solitary confinement to gain insight on the psychological toll of a practice used in countless prisons. The idea came after the net shot footage from CO State Penitentiary for its “Explorer: Solitary Confinement” episode, which examined whether solitary creates long-term mental problems. And the stunt was used to promote the show. NatGeo set up a 24-7 live Web stream of each volunteer and allowed each to send only outgoing tweets, cutting them off from all other communication with the outside world. The event set a record for NatGeoTV.com as the net generated more than 600K impressions.

Honorable Mentions
Bravo Media - Top Chef: Just Desserts Day
How to win loyal followers for a new Top Chef-themed show? Hand out free desserts across the country, partnering with OpenTable.com and more than 200 retailers. And how about a Dessert Truck in NYC, LA and Chicago. Mmmm…

HBO - Boardwalk Empire Bloomingdales Promotion
This partnership with the legendary high-end retailer involved a one-night stunt at its NYC store involving live actors in the window and other show-themed tie-ins.

HBO - Boardwalk Empire Caesar’s/
Harrah’s Hotel Domination Promotion
HBO worked with Caesars Atlantic City to bring its 1920s crime drama to life before its premiere with a star-studded viewing party and other promos. One example: 1,920 rooms for $19.20 per night. Clever.

HBO - True Blood Season 3 Midnight Screening Event
Fans could attend a creepy midnight screening to catch up on Season 2 and get a glimpse of Season 3, capped off by a Q&A with creator Alan Ball and cast members.

TLC - TLC Summer – Times Square pool
Two words: Synchronized swimmers. TLC set up a truck/mobile pool across from Radio City Music Hall, filled it with 7,200 gallons of water and let the swimmers take over. Giveaways. Talent appearances. Overall, a very summery stunt.


Press Kit

Winners
A&E Television Networks - Teach: Tony Danza
One of the most clever kits we’ve seen. Touting actor Tony Danza’s year-long teaching gig in an inner-city Philadelphia school, the press kit actually was a student’s marble composition notebook, complete with black speckled cover. Adding to the fun, each of 500 notebooks was personalized with the recipient’s name on the front, scrawled in what looked to be handwriting. Then inside were pages of notes about Danza and prominent students in the classes that he taught in this docu-series. Of course the notes were done in handwriting style, pictures were taped onto pages and there was quite a bit of doodling. The back of the book contained blank pages, perfect for jotting down one’s thoughts… or making spitballs.  

FX - Archer
FX overlooked no details in this kit, which came housed in an inter-departmental manila envelope (remember those?), complete with signatures of the agents and staff at ISIS, the dysfunctional secret intelligence agency where he-man/chauvinist pig Sterling Archer is the most dysfunctional of all. The kit adheres to the over-the-top zaniness of this animated series, using cartoon images of all, including producers and creators, and amusing bios. We’re told executive producer Matt Thompson was born in Scotland in 1518. Realizing he was immortal, Thompson traveled to the new world. After 400 years he was hired at a Bennigan’s in Atlanta. Even the PR people got into the act, signing the press release as Agents Scott Seomin and Erika Bouso.

Honorable Mentions
A&E Television Networks - The Hasselhoffs
A totally tongue-in-cheek kit that combined a calendar with hilarious parodies of Hasselhoff (for Sept’s Jewish holidays picture, Hasselhoff in a black coat and beard; for Valentine’s Day in February, it was Hasselhoff all in red holding a box of candy).

FX - Rescue Me
FX’s oversized press kits have become the stuff of legend for media types, with this year’s Rescue Me kits emblazoned with a photo of a eerie-looking Denis Leary on the cover with the word Rescued written on his forehead in smoky grease.

National Geographic Channel - Great Migrations
National Geographic’s biggest programming initiative deserved a stellar press kit and this one certainly delivered. Indeed, media received a gorgeous kit loaded with excellent color photos of animals, a hardcover book commemorating the landmark series and of course review copies, which showed the spectacular film that took nearly 3 years of field work to make.

Showtime Networks - Shameless
The art in this oversized press kit was as offbeat as the family members featured in this dark comedy, including one memorable photo of an unshaven, unkempt William H. Macy face down in a drunken stupor.

Sprout - Sprout Press Kit
Talk about breaking through the clutter, Sprout’s kit was housed in a soft, purple fuzzy cover, making it eye catching and unforgettable.


Programming Stunt

Winner
ION Media Networks - Cruisin’ for a Bruce’n’
ION’s Crusin’ for a Bruce’n’ weekend stunt showed once again that Bruce Willis’ popularity has yet to, er, die hard. ION’s challenge was to connect three Willis films (The Siege, The Whole Ten Yards and The Fifth Element) that it planned to show during a mid-August weekend. The films are from different genres and spanned more than one decade. After intensive screening and brainstorming, ION decided pushing Willis’ tough guy persona was better than promoting the films themselves. Willis delivered for ION, with a 26% improvement in ratings for weekend movies for 25-54s and a 47% jump for 18-49s.


Honorable Mentions
Investigation Discovery
Black Widows Week
While America was eating turkey, whacky Investigation Discovery spent Thanksgiving Week touting shows about “women who kill for thrills.” Viewers were told to be grateful these women aren’t at your dinner table. Or are they?  

ION Media Networks
Back to the Future Trilogy
To drive increases in the 25-54 demo for parts 1, 2 and 3 of Back to the Future, ION created a music video that stitched together highlights of the trilogy; ratings jumped 91%.

Ovation
Sacred to Profane
With the arrival of spring holidays Easter and Passover, arts network Ovation assembled documentaries and films that both praised and blasted religion, including The Satanic Verses Affair and Little Buddha.

Public Affairs Campaign

Winners
History Channel - America The Story of US
OK, it helps when you have a fellow named Barack Obama kicking off your campaign about a six-part comprehensive history of America. Another piece of assistance comes when you decide to make the entire production available free to every school and accredited college in the country, the largest educational outreach in AETN history. Add to that partnerships with The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and various state and local education and history associations. In conjunction with the series there were kickoff events, history and video contests and a special Webcast for teachers and students. So, you get the picture.

RLTV - RLTV Prime Votes: Election 2010
RLTV knew its 55+ demo would be a critical factor in the mid-term elections of 2010 since seniors are more likely to vote than younger people. The network reasoned it was its duty to mount a multiplatform effort to inform viewers of their power in determining the election results. Among the highlights: daily news segments every weekday covering stories and trends important to mature voters and hosted by Sam Donaldson and John Palmer; town hall events with Time Warner Cable, AARP and others; and a pair of 90-minute televised events covering topics relevant to senior voters.      

Honorable Mentions
Big Ten Network - Give Big
A campaign that informs about volunteer opportunities and inspires viewers to join them, Give Big highlighted Big Ten athletes like Iowa’s John Heineman to raise $19K to help Iowa’s City Free Medical Clinic.

GMC
Be Positive, Act Positive, Live Positive –
Stop Violence, Presented by Comcast
GMC joined Comcast Freedom Region and Center for Family Services for a month-long awareness campaign that attacked Camden, NJ’s crime rate, the highest in the country.

NBCUniversal
USA Network Characters Unite Campaign
In these partisan times, a network that uses a multi-platform approach to emphasize what brings us together rather than what keeps us apart gets our respect.

Ovation
92nd Street Y’s Poetry Center Schools Project
Arts network Ovation joined with Time Warner Cable of NY City to publicize the plight of a 22-year-old poetry outreach program at the 92nd Street Y that reaches some 1500 high-school students yearly.

Social Media Marketing

Winner
Bravo - Bravo Talk Bubble/RHNYC Season 3
With all the reality TV fare in the world today, it’s hard to stand out. But thanks to discipline and social media savvy, Bravo created enormous buzz around its Real Housewives of New York City Season 3 premiere. The net created a “Talk Bubble” around the series, letting fans interact on a weekly basis with the housewives through social media but also integrating with multiplatform ads, viral videos and other methods. All told, the effort led to the highest-rated season finale in the show’s history and triple-digit increases in social media views and engagement. We can only say... bravo!

Honorable Mentions
A&E Television Networks - The Glades Social Media
By cleverly using a variety of social media platforms and engaging bloggers, A&E was able to drive big results.

Discovery Communications
Discovery Channel’s MythBusters
Discovery drove significant page views using several social media platforms, including excellent engagement with celebrity tweeters.

Bravo Media - Bravo/Foursquare Partnership
Bravo truly is ahead of the curve when it comes to using geo-location to engage with fans through social media. Its Foursquare partnership continues to use early adopters as influencers of others—and that’s very, very smart.

HBO - Eastbound & Down Season 2 –
Kenny Powers Tribute Mash-up
HBO just seems to “get” Eastbound fans, with social media engagement that perfectly fits the show’s sensibility.



Tchotchke

Winner
The Hub
Out-of-the Billboard-inary Bag
The Hub gave media buyers a piece of itself with this creative tchotchke. Literally. At holiday time, the children’s network distributed large shopping bags to affiliates that were made of pieces of billboards. Yes, you read that correctly. The bags began life as roadside billboards touting The Hub. The resulting 1,100 one-of-a-kind bags generated great word of mouth in the media community and impressed our judges for their creativity and eco-friendliness. Even better than the flurry of calls The Hub’s ad sales team received from curious media buyers was the fact that ad agency execs carrying the bags around literally became walking billboards for The Hub.  

Honorable Mentions

HBO - Eastbound & Down Season 2 Mullet
We’re not sure how comfortable the combination baseball cap and attached mullet was for amateur softball players to wear in the field, but the sight gag certainly was a home run in terms of promoting the baseball-themed comedy series.

International Media Distribution - Floating Globes
IMD wanted its holiday gift to remain on executives’ desk, not be re-gifted, and thus remind them of IMD’s global reach. Global mission accomplished.

The Tennis Channel - 2010 US Open Gift Bag
Our judges loved the practical contents of the bag (plastic water bottle, fan, sunscreen etc), but also the comical elements, including breath mints to keep fans’ mouth fresh.

Turner Broadcasting - Fuji Instant Camera Gift
By giving upfront attendees logo-emblazoned cameras as gifts Turner emphasized its excellent, er, image.


Trade Show Marketing and PR

Winner
The Hub
Hub TV Comic Con Experience
The last place any marketer can get away with schlock is at the famously and wonderfully nerdy Comic Con convention where even the slightest hint of corporate-ness could land an enterprising marketer in the doghouse. Not this time. Despite marketing to people who probably know more about the folklore surrounding its iconic brands than even the brand managers themselves, The Hub put skeptics to rest with its 10K-sq-ft ballroom space at a nextdoor hotel, giving fans a full immersive and interactive brand experience. A “Transformers Prime” photo station. A G.I. Joe/Cobra Industries I.D. badge creation center. A “Fraggle Rock” design studio. That’s a formula for success in Nerdville. And 500 visitors filled the venue at all times. Optimus Prime would be proud.

Honorable Mentions
HBO - True Blood Season 3 – Comic Con
When it comes to cult fetishes like vampires, there’s nowhere better to roam than at Comic Con. And HBO did it right, bringing out all the stars and making fans feel part of the show.

Karmaloop TV
Launch at NCTA’s “The Cable Show 2010”
Even if you’re not in the “Verge Culture” celebrated by Karmaloop TV, it was hard not to hear about it at The Cable Show as the emerging net gave us daily “live art happenings” at its booth and other goodies, like an appearance by skiing sensation Shaun “The Flying Tomato” White.

NBCUniversal - NBCUniversal Connection
Never one to waste an opportunity, NBCU held a big party at its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park during the Cable Show. The event showcased its brands to more than 3,400 attendees, including execs from major distributors.  

Time Warner Cable - NCTA 2010 “My World”
As host MSO, Time Warner Cable tricked out NCTA’s My World exhibit to resemble a house beaming with cable tech, including a sports bar. If only we all lived in that house.

Video/Use of Video
Or Moving Image

Winner
HBO
True Blood Season 3 – Oh, Sookie
When you want to create some viral buzz, there’s one sure-fire way to do it: Call in Snoop Dogg. HBO discovered the Power of the Snoop when it convinced the rapper to create a homage music video to sing the praises of True Blood. It now has 2.5mln unique views. It’s hard to argue with the Snoop when he raps “he gave tru blood… I smoke tru bud.” Or his classic invite to “do it in the daytime”… you know, it’s a rebellious vampire thing. And in the final stroke of Snoopified genius, the video features Sookie-lookalike dancers. When Snoop pulls up to Merlotte’s Bar & Grill in a Cadillac emblazoned with the license plate “Tru PIMP,” you can only sigh, “Oh, Sookie…”

Honorable Mentions
Cartoon Network
Firebreather
Cartoon used YouTube to create awareness and excitement around its original movie “Firebreather” about a teen who ends up half-dragon. Cartoon broke the mold and got lots of attention for it.

Oxygen Media
Hair Battle Spectacular
Oxygen’s use of landscape advertising in NYC fused the old school with the new school, with great results.



Viral Marketing Campaign

Winner
Big Ten Network, Bobblethon (Big Ten Icons)
Sometimes a simple idea works well. To publicize its biggest programming initiative, “Big Ten Icons,” a countdown of the best athletes in Big Ten history, Big Ten Network created several campaigns around bobbleheads of a great athlete from each of the Big Ten schools. But it also virtually put these bobbleheads online and challenged fans to tap the little fellas (with requisite boing and bobble motions). Once you tapped in, you could also link information about the contest to your Facebook page or tweet about it. Even better, the school whose bobblehead was tapped the most won a $10K donation for its alumni association. The bobbleheads were tapped nearly 1mln times and helped Big Ten Icons to become the most-watched non-live show in Big Ten history.  

Honorable Mentions
Cartoon Network
CN Hole in the Wall New Game Show Series Launch
To generate excitement for game show “Hole in The Wall” (and distinguish it from earlier versions on other networks), Cartoon did multiple homepage takeovers/roadblocks, most importantly of the wildly popular YouTube Fred Channel (2mln+ subs). Hole in the Wall debuted as CN’s #1 show.

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Network Launch
One month before OWN went live, a theme song written for the network, Will.i.am, was picked up by Web and broadcast outlets. The song went viral, bolstering buzz for the launch, whose media coverage was immense.


 Marketer of the Year

Winner
Sean Bratches - EVP, Sales & Marketing
ESPN
This CableFAX Sales Hall of Famer oversees ESPN’s marketing, advertising sales, affiliate sales, research and even special events. A man of many hats, Bratches truly drives the thematic feel of every ESPN effort, including classics such as the “This is Sportscenter” campaign as well as one-time initiatives like the net’s massive effort around the 2010 FIFA World Cup in S Africa, which drove record ratings for ESPN largely because of the awareness Bratches’ team created. In ’10, Bratches also hired away Carol Kruse from The Coca-Cola Co. Her experience with loyalty programs and promos will no doubt pay big dividends for ESPN as it continues to deepen its connection with sports fans. Bratches has also overseen new affiliate deals that have enabled more authenticated content and other multiplatform advances. There’s far too much to list here, so just trust us. This guy is good.

Honorable Mentions
Kent Rees – SVP, Marketing
Current
Rees just joined Current from IFC, and with his fingerprints all over IFC’s “Always On. Slightly Off” tagline—we’re guessing Current’s anxious to put Rees’ skills to the test.

Denise Conroy-Galley – SVP, Marketing & Research
Outdoor Channel
Conroy-Galley not only launched Outdoor Channel Corps to promote volunteerism and conservation in ’10 but her stewardship of the net’s “Biggest Summer Ever” promo led to a 72% jump in primetime HH from June to Aug.

Jeff Gregor – CMO
TBS/TNT/TCM
He’s the guy behind the Conan promo campaign, which CableFAX has recognized with several well-deserved awards. But Gregor has also expertly led a team of 130 marketers, herding their wide range of disciplines to a common vision.

Bill Bergofin – SVP, Marketing and Promotion
Versus
Bergofin’s on- and off-air marketing strategies have helped Versus break records with its NHL and college sports content, as well as drive growth in several other properties.


Marketing Team of the Year

Winner
Outdoor Channel
Under SVP Denise Conroy-Galley, Outdoor Channel gets consistent results with a close-knit, 14-member team of marketers and researchers touting the outdoor lifestyle to 34mln subs. The launch of volunteer initiative Outdoor Channel Corps was one example of the kind of leadership and teamwork that makes this team one of the hardest working and most effective in cable. This small team managed 2,500 volunteers in 8 states as they collected 3,000 lbs of debris. All this as the net began its first year broadcasting 100% in HD, with a record 12 new shows and a big summer promotion that helped spike ratings. Meanwhile, Conroy-Galley holds bi-yearly team building days, including “cowboy action shooting” and paintball. It’s these kinds of bonding activities, combined with hard work and passion, that helps this small team get such big things done.

Honorable Mentions
TBS/TNT/TCM
It’s not all about Conan, as this team also saw big recent success marketing new hits like “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Are We There Yet?” We’re sure there’s more greatness to come.

TLC
TLC’s marketing team exceeded so many goals in ’10, we can’t list them all here. But whether it was a fabulous upfront presentation or savvy marketing around controversial shows like “Sister Wives” and “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” this team is one of the best in cable.


PR Executive of the Year

Winners
Nicole Nichols - SVP, Communications & Strategy
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Plenty of PR people are able to promote established networks. For more than one year, Nicole Nichols’ job was touting a network that had yet to go live and whose namesake hadn’t yet quit her full-time job. Not to worry, a savvy veteran, Nichols created, managed and sustained a campaign for one of cable’s largest launches. Tapping relationships she’d created over many years, Nichols unveiled OWN in stages, each month providing more and different information about the network to old and new friends in the media press via a variety of platforms. The quiet professional made a splash by getting the boss herself to appear at the TV Critics Association press tour, just days after OWN went live on Jan 1 ’11. Nichols’ efforts resulted in nearly 10K launch stories and more than 500mln impressions. And she’s only just started.

Richard Licata - EVP, Corporate Communications
Showtime Networks
It’s hard to say when the changing of the guard occurred, the moment when Showtime and later Starz began to give HBO some real competition. Odds are, Richard Licata had more than a little to do with it. This eternal optimist is known informally as the Emmy King for his ability to get attention for Showtime originals during Emmy season, Showtime’s recent spate of Emmys proves it’s not only good to be the king, but also good to have him as your PR person. It was Licata who greened the Emmy process, sending voters a password to access entire seasons of Showtime nominees online instead of sending them bulky packages of discs. Fittingly, the rest of the industry now follows the king’s tactics. Now that he’s our co-PR person of the year, they should also bow down to him.    

Honorable Mentions
Alyssa Corcoran, SVP, Communications  
NBCUniversal
One of cable’s best, Alyssa Corcoran’s portfolio includes USA Network, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo. A fine  athlete, she also oversaw press for NBCU’s distribution of enhanced cable content from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Georgia Juvelis, VP, Corporate Communications
Rainbow Media Holdings
There’s no more innovative PR professional in cable than Georgia Juvelis, whose string of stories in top-tier publications is the envy of many communications professionals.

PR Team of the Year

Winner
Discovery Communications
Corporate Affairs and Global Communications Team
We could laud Discovery Communications’ Corporate Affairs and Global Communications Team for promoting the Emmy-winning nature co-venture with the BBC “Life.” Or the savvy way it supported the launches of 3 joint venture networks: OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network; children’s net The Hub; and the 3D channel joint venture with IMAX  and Sony called 3net. Then there was the professional way it handled things during and after a gunman held several employees hostage for hours in Discovery headquarters on Sept 1. Instead, we’ll give the biggest nod to its establishing Discover Your Impact Day, where employees volunteered to do community service. The goal had been to get 50% of Discovery’s 3K global employees to join; 75% did. It now will be an annual event.


Honorable Mention
Big Ten Network - Big Ten Network Communications
Ironically Big Ten Net has a tiny communications team. Yet the team’s influence is influence is large, including its 1400% growth on Twitter,  2400% rise on Facebook and its Beacon award from ACC.

Public Affairs Executive of the Year – Operator

Necole Merritt - VP, Public Affairs
Cox Communications
When it comes to cable operators, few have as good a reputation with both customers and the local communities they serve than Cox. And helping to keep that reputation alive (as well as greatly expand it) is Necole Merritt, who oversees Cox’s relationship with the media, public and local communities. We’ve been most impressed with her close stewardship of Cox’s ongoing “Take Charge!” Internet safety initiative with TV host and children’s advocate John Walsh. With so many kids online and creating detailed profiles through social media sites and interactions, never has it been more important for kids and parents to understand the risks. Merritt’s work with Walsh helps create awareness of these issues, allowing families to more safely use Cox’s broadband products. It’s that kind of advocacy that helps preserve Cox’s stellar reputation.

Public Affairs Executive of the Year - Programmer

Susan Haspel - VP,  Corporate Community Affairs
NBCUniversal
One of the creators in 1989 of NBC Universal’s “The More You Know” public service campaign, Susan Haspel has received numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy and a Peabody. In 2010, Haspel expanded the campaign to NBCU’s cable portfolio, using cable talent and inventory to greatly expand its scope. She has also employed other new techniques, including social media and a new creative design emphasizing still photography. Haspel also spearheaded the campaign’s partnership with The First Lady, who will be contributing messages to The More You Know regarding childhood obesity. In addition to her work on The More You Know, Haspel leads NBCU’s corporate responsibility strategy.


 
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