As the industry waits to see how AT&T Broadband &
Internet Services rebrands its newly acquired Tele-Communications Inc. cable systems,
another top 10 MSO, Cox Communications Inc., is moving forward with a new image campaign
designed to appeal to consumers' emotions.
With a few exceptions -- such as MediaOne Group Inc.'s
"This Is Broadband: This Is the Way" campaign -- most recent cable-branding
efforts have come from programming networks, such as MTV: Music Television and Home Box
Office, rather than from MSOs, Cox vice president of marketing Virginia Gray said.
"People don't have loyalty behind their cable
provider," Gray added. "It's seen as a utility."
Cox launched its new "Now You're Living"
television commercials this past weekend during an MSO-wide free HBO preview.
Cross-channel spots are set to run starting this week, with broadcast buys in select
markets scheduled to air next month.
Rather than focusing on the technology, the spots focus on
real-life images of consumers enjoying their televisions, telephones and high-speed
In one example, a grandfather looks at a sonogram of his
grandchild sent over the Internet. In another, a woman turns on the TV so that her eagerly
awaiting dog can watch Animal Planet. A specially created "Now You're
Living" song tells viewers what a great time it is to be alive.
Such image campaigns can help the industry to focus on
consumer experiences and convenience, rather than on product attributes, said Bob Davis,
managing director of Boston-based Dove Associates.
"One of the real benefits to broadband pipe is the way
that it will change and improve your life," Davis said, adding that a good image
campaign can give subscribers a reason to stay loyal to their cable company.
"We're the meat and potatoes in making people
more productive and happy in their lives," Cox CEO Jim Robbins said during the Cable
Television Public Affairs Association conference in Washington, D.C., last week.
"This is not just a pipe dream: It's a dream about what the pipe can do."
Davis predicted that it would take some time before
consumers fully comprehend the term "broadband," but he added that MSOs
shouldn't shy away from using it. "Wide usage creates awareness that broadband
is good, positive, something that you'd want, something futuristic," Davis said.
He believes that AT&T Broadband will be another big
voice backing the broadband concept.
One goal behind Cox's new image campaign is to remind
consumers that "we're not just cable -- we're a full-service
provider," Gray said.
Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing vice
president of marketing Seth Morrison said that in this age of increasing competition,
it's essential for MSOs to build strong brand images and to support those images with
good customer service.
He pointed to successful companies such as McDonald's
Corp., which has a brand so strong that consumers trust the fast-food chain wherever they
The new Cox ads were created by BBDO South and led by
executive creative director Art Mellor, who had helped to create the "Everywhere You
Want to Be" campaign for Visa International and the "We Bring Good Things to
Life" campaign for General Electric Co.
Cox paid $1.5 million for the creative, and it is still
finalizing its budget for the media buys.