CBS Cable's Country Music Television is accelerating
its local-marketing and promotion plans for 1998, including putting the pedal to the metal
with a fifth CMT truck in early May.
Those trucks -- the first of which hit the asphalt for CMT
in July 1993 -- have proven to be attractive vehicles not only for grassroots promotions,
but also for driving ad sales for the network's affiliates, according to Bob Storin,
CMT's director of marketing.
CMT -- which did just under 1,000 local promotions last
year, and which expects to do "1,100 or 1,200" this year, with and without
trucks -- offers the vehicles to interested affiliates for use at country fairs,
festivals, rodeos, concerts and the like, Storin said. He estimated that each truck
averages 25 events per month.
The need for yet another truck -- which will debut May 10
in Chicago for the George Strait Chevy Truck Country Music Festival -- became clear once
CMT committed two from its existing fleet to the Strait tour and the "Wal-Mart Music
Across America Tour" -- two examples of what CMT refers to as "backyard
The ad-sales aspect has just started to catch on among
affiliates within the past year, Storin said, but CMT can't gauge volume, since many
don't report their results.
Tele-Communications Inc.'s TCI Media Services in Texas
and Louisiana sold nearly $175,000 in local time to one-dozen accounts around the
truck's visits last spring, including Pontiac dealers, apparel stores, restaurants
and an appliance store, said Tom Calvin, Dallas-based TCI regional marketing director.
That was mostly incremental revenue, but Calvin cited a
mall and a couple of car dealers as new-to-cable accounts.
From March to May 1997, whenever the CMT vehicle
wasn't occupied with the Wal-Mart Tour, TCI systems in Houston, Dallas, Abilene and
Corpus Christi, Texas, "kind of monopolized the truck," Calvin said. He added
that the truck worked equally well in systems with 35,000 subscribers and systems with
670,000 subscribers, which is why most of the systems plan to use it again this spring.
In Raleigh, N.C., Time Warner Cable's Adcast sold the
promoter of a home show on its first cable buy by linking it with CMT's truck visit
in mid-June, said Denise Dobbins, the system's promotion specialist. Time Warner is
talking with some car dealers about future linkups, she added.
Time Warner systems in St. Augustine, Lake City, Palataka
and elsewhere in Florida used CMT's truck stops to spark excitement among viewers and
employees for CMT's April 1 launches, said Michelle Broussard, public-affairs
director for the MSO's Atlanta national division. In Marietta, Ga., Time
Warner's system plans another CMT promotion around an April 17 Deana Carter concert,
although the truck may not be involved.
CMT is the media sponsor of the Strait tour, with a
seven-performer roster that will make 18 stops in stadiums in such markets as Phoenix;
Tampa, Fla.; New Orleans; and Birmingham, Ala. Each stadium holds about 50,000 people. CMT
has reserved 20 tickets for the Strait tour's final stop at Houston's Rice
Stadium June 7 for winners of a local sweepstakes involving advertisers in 10 tour
Starting April 27, CMT will present the Wal-Mart
tour's second year. Soon after Strait's tour concludes in June, it'll be
followed by a new,unspecified "CMT Presents" tour for the second half of
the year, Storin said.