Cable operators have found success working with CTAM to create a unified message. The first iteration of "Only Cable Can" launched last fall, touting cable’s competitive advantages in high-speed Internet, on demand and HDTV. The campaign, which includes a consumer website and 800 number, was considered such a success that CTAM and the participating operators will roll out the campaign’s second phase later this year, CTAM president and CEO Char Beales says. While all involved tell us publicly that they are happy with the Only Cable Can campaign, MSOs still are focused on their own local messages. A few weeks ago, CableWORLD asked the top five cable operators to send us their favorite marketing campaigns. That was all that we asked for…a screen grab or print ad for a marketing campaign they found to be effective. The selected campaign could be marketing anything, from video to data to telephony to the operator’s brand. What we got back was all over the map. Adelphia sent a DVR marketing piece; Comcast touted one of its mockumentary spots; Cox went the high-speed route; Time Warner Cable chose a public awareness campaign; and Charter provided one of its Dan Aykroyd anti-satellite spots. While it’s difficult to compare these cable campaigns to each other and rank them, we decided to begin the following list with our favorite marketing pitch, from Adelphia. Adelphia’s "DVR Cross-Channel" Spot This is our favorite spot, and it’s also a CTAM Mark Awards finalist. It’s tricky having to explain newer applications like DVRs and on demand in 30-second spots. Adelphia does a good job here by telling a story and setting up a relationship with viewers without having to explain DVRs technically. Adelphia executives say they wanted to stay away from a simple recitation of the DVR’s features, opting instead to use "humor to illustrate one important aspect of digital video recording while notifying early adopters that the service is available from Adelphia," spokeswoman Erica Stull says. In this spot, "the frazzled heroine arrives home after the start of her favorite show, and is overcome with gratitude when she learns her new Adelphia DVR is on the job, recording the show." Comcast’s "That was then. This is Comcast." Remember Comcast’s "Satellite Tree of Shame" spot from a couple of years ago? The MSO went back to the mockumentary style with this brand campaign, which features this spot ("Acting Different") showing a Comcast customer who is surprised at all the new services available to him. He’s also taken with the better customer service from his cable company. "[This spot] demonstrates Comcast’s commitment to changing the way we provide service, using a humorous approach," says Comcast VP of advertising and brand marketing Patty Miller. "Qualitative consumer research showed high likability and excellent delivery of our key messages across the campaign." Comcast has had success with this style of campaign for several years, and this looks like another win to us. Time Warner Cable’s "Give Back" Time Warner Cable’s "Give Back" campaign shows one of cable’s biggest advantages over satellite: It is local and its employees are part of the community. "The underlying theme is that Time Warner Cable takes time to be more than just a cable company," spokesman Keith Cocozza says. "It is committed to giving back to the community specifically through the active involvement of Time Warner Cable employees." This campaign identifies employees by their Time Warner Cable titles and depicts them as volunteers in their community. "[That helps] consumers better identify and trust the Time Warner Cable brand, yet another differentiator between us and the competition," Cocozza says. This campaign has a good message but would score more points with us if its anti-satellite claim were more overt. Cox’s High-Speed Internet "Back-to-School" It’s hard to see Joe Rooney’s influence in this back-to-school high-speed Internet spot. That’s because this is one of the few Cox spots that never mentions the bundle. Cox’s SVP, marketing, has long touted the benefits of marketing the bundle, and Cox has been at the forefront of promoting its individual services aggressively while rarely letting you forget the bundle. This spot is all about Cox’s high-speed Internet offering. It is aggressive, pointing out that Cox "is flat-out faster than DSL." And it is effective in driving home "the point that Cox’s high-speed Internet service will let kids spend less time waiting and more time learning," Cox spokeswoman Laura Oberhelman says. Charter’s "Anti-Satellite" spots Charter made a lot of headlines earlier this year when it signed actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd to star in anti-satellite spots. Aykroyd headed Charter’s "Dish Intervention Team," which travels to DBS customers’ homes to talk about the advantages of Charter Digital TV and high-speed Internet services. Each spot ends with the tag line: "The dish is the disease. We’re the cure." "The spots proved effective at rallying employees and building customer loyalty," Charter spokesman Dave Mack says. There’s always a risk associated with celebrity spokespeople: In this case, Charter is banking on a TV star from the 1970s to sell advanced products in 2004, something company officials say was successful. "Churn during the first quarter was down both versus budget and year-over-year," Mack says.

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