Preserving With PSAs

4/25/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

The History Channel kicked off its annual “Save Our History” campaign last week with an event in Tampa, Fla., where it partnered with Bright House Networks.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio declared April 21 “Save Our History Day,” and met with more than 400 students at a local elementary school, which showcased an array of preservation projects.

In addition to Bright House, operators teaming up with History to sponsor local events in April and May include Comcast Corp. in Atlanta and Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Denver; and Charter Communications Inc. in St. Louis. History plans to kick off a second leg of local events with operators in September.

The network launched “Save Our History” in 1998, and has grown it into a national campaign through which it supplies schools with lesson plans and partners with groups in several cities to preserve historic sites.

The campaign also includes a local affiliate marketing component for operators, who can sell taggable public service announcements and cross-channel spots to advertisers.

“The goal is to use the tools given to us as a media company to help push an agenda that we feel is important to our constituency, our viewers,” said History senior vice president of marketing Mike Mohamad.

This year, History shot “Save Our History” PSAs with several celebrities, including first lady Laura Bush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and NBC Today Show news anchor Ann Curry.

Operators can run the full 30-second PSAs, or they can choose to run versions of the spots that contain a 10-second tag affiliates can use to tout their involvement in the local Save Our History projects, said History director of affiliate marketing Jennifer Ball.

However, the PSAs featuring Bush can’t be tagged by operators, Ball said.

The network is “absolutely not” making money from the campaign, Mohamad said, although national advertisers have bought sponsorships.

Bank of America is the initiative’s primary national sponsor and is considering creating a “Save Our History” credit card, according to Mohamad.

The network is also producing four one-hour Save Our History programs about restoring historical sites, the first of which will run during the fourth quarter.

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