To help nonsubscribers picture themselves with cable,
Century Communications Corp. and Nickelodeon teamed up on a summer acquisition campaign
highlighting popular programming such as Nickelodeon's new CatDog series.
In what its direct-mail pieces dubbed "a
picture-perfect deal from Century," the MSO offered new subscribers single-use
cameras featuring CatDog.
Last month, Century sent 400,000 promotional letters to
nonsubscribers across all of its markets, along with a pack of mock snapshots featuring
characters from popular cable channels.
In addition to direct mail, Century used radio, newspaper,
bilingual postcards, door-hangers, its Web site and select broadcast stations to promote
the offer. In-house agency Century Advertising created the materials.
The three-week campaign ran from June 7 through 25. The MSO
also runs acquisition campaigns in September, December and February.
"Summer is synonymous with reruns, and we wanted to
shatter that image," Century basic-product manager Rebecca DiPanni said.
Century chose the free Nickelodeon-branded camera because
"we wanted a very family-friendly premium," DiPanni said. The camera has a long
shelf life, she added, and because it's portable, new subscribers can take it with them on
picnics and other family-friendly outings.
Nickelodeon was a good partner to work with because even
people who don't subscribe to cable have heard of the network, she added.
The CatDog logo on the camera will help to raise
awareness and put the show on people's radar screens. "If people don't know what CatDog
is yet, it will get them to ask about it," DiPanni said.
Nickelodeon affiliate-marketing manager Anthony Barton said
the Century campaign was a great opportunity for the network to reach a broader family
audience. Because CatDog has been licensed for apparel and other merchandise, the
show will gain a higher profile later this year among nonsubscribers.
Century and Nickelodeon have worked together on
customer-loyalty and retention campaigns. And while Nickelodeon makes co-op funds
available to all of its affiliates, Barton said, "It's unusual for someone to come up
with something so creative."
Barton added that Nickelodeon is very particular about how
its brand is used in premiums such as the single-use camera. "It's great to work with
someone when you're never afraid they're going to misuse your logo," he said.
"Century included us [in all of its plans] right from the beginning."
In addition to the free camera, Century offered new
subscribers discounted installation on up to three TV sets and one-half off Home Box
Office and Cinemax for three months.
DiPanni said Century is still compiling results from the
recent campaign. Century Advertising typically sees a 3 percent response rate from its
acquisition campaigns, she added.