Adelphia Aims for L.A. Gays

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Adelphia Communications Corp. is getting edgier with some of its ad campaigns. Case in point: its Southern California system recently began running print ads featuring a photo of two bathrobe-clad men kissing.

The ads, which are appearing in gay and lesbian publications, spoof help-wanted situations. Copy reads: “New union seeking a telecommunications company that can provide cutting-edge, cost-effective technology for domestic use. Those requiring an up-front investment in equipment need not apply.”

The Denver-based MSO touts its digital video, high-speed data and HDTV services in the ads, which also contain plugs for gay- and lesbian-themed series on premium network Showtime, Queer as Folk and The L Word.

The system is also offering new customers six free months of digital cable and Showtime, free cable installation and one free month of high-speed Internet service.

Adelphia regional director of sales and marketing Rob Daleo said the Southern California system had run some “stealth” ad campaigns under the former, more conservative Rigas-family management team that touted programs such as Home Box Office's series Six Feet Under.

“This year, with the change in management, we don't need to be as stealthy,” he added, noting that the California system has the support of new Adelphia CEO Bill Schleyer and his management team.

In addition to running ads in gay and lesbian publications Fab and Frontier, Adelphia set up a kiosk demonstrating video-on-demand, HDTV, digital cable and high-speed data at a recent gay pride parade in Los Angeles, where it signed up more than 90 new customers, according to Daleo.

The campaign is part of a broader multicultural marketing push Adelphia is pursuing in Southern California, where the cable operator is also looking to sign new Latino and Asian customers through targeted advertising materials and mobile kiosks at local festivals.

Adelphia's Southern California system spends about 30% of its annual marketing budget on multicultural marketing efforts, Daleo said.

“We want to try to get as close to people as possible by reaching directly to the household. In order to do that we need to identify the household, and look at language preference, lifestyle, and key demographic and psychographic things,” Daleo said. “We want to get as close as possible to one-to-one marketing.”

Adelphia is using research that analyzes various demographics to determine which products it should push to different audience segments.

For example, Daleo said that Adelphia found initially that Asian households were more tech-savvy and more likely to sign up for high-speed data services. But as of late, Adelphia has found that Hispanic households represent the fastest-growing segment for high-speed Internet service.

Adelphia has also set up a multilingual customer service line in Southern California that can be used by subscribers that don't speak English.

“We are able to translate 119 languages,” Daleo said. “We can have an interpreter on the line with us, able to serve our customers on a one-to-one basis,” he added.

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