Comcast marketing svp Marvin Davis is unapologetic: "So, our prices are higher-it’s a better product." He’s been trying to install that thinking since he joined Comcast in Feb. In a world of deep DSL discounts and DBS promos, cable should avoid grabbing every customer. "If you did, you’d have a monopoly. You have to find what you’re going to compete on," the creator of Verizon Wireless’ ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ campaign told NAMIC’s Mid-Atlantic chapter. A former DirecTV sub, Davis spent much of ’05 researching Comcast. His initial finding: "Comcast may well be the most-hated brand in America." Indeed, Davis joked he can’t get out the church door on Sundays now without people complaining to him about their cable. Cable’s responsible for some of that, but part of the problem is cable’s lack of branding, he said. "If you don’t define yourself, others will." (Cue EchoStar’s giant, inflatable pig.) Comcast is trying to build a brand by improving its value equation-not necessarily cutting prices. Making TV and HSD a superior experience is the focus of the "It’s Comcastic" campaign. Somebody’s buying: AdWeek today will name it ‘Best Ad Campaign of the Year.’ — Don’t Over- Promise: As VoIP gathers momentum, be careful about calling it a "superior phone service." "Very few services in America are as reliable as landline phone service," Davis said. — Brand Don’ts: Davis rattled off the usual examples of good branding (ESPN, Discovery, Nick, Lifetime, Disney), but his bigger challenge is "people who think they have a really good brand and don’t." Pet peeve: trying to abbreviate a brand to an acronym when no one knows what it means. "Fed Ex was Federal Express for 40 years." — Non-Sequitur: We’re not sure how it came up, but for the record, he said adult VOD like Cinemax "After Dark" is as popular in Salt Lake City as it is in places like Atlanta.

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