Influencing Influencers

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The National Cable & Telecommunications Association kicked off a new marketing campaign last week, aimed at improving the industry’s reputation on Capitol Hill.

Called “A Great American Success Story,” it began running on local TV and cable networks in the Washington, D.C. area. The NCTA said it will eventually expand the campaign to additional undisclosed cities, and cable operators and national networks will set aside cross-channel advertising inventory to run the pro-cable commercials.

Political advertising firm Strategic Perceptions, which produces commercials mostly for Republican political candidates — and has previously worked with new NCTA CEO Kyle McSlarrow — handled the campaign for the organization, which also received an assist from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

The firm has produced a 30-second, 60-second and six-minute versions of the spots (viewable at They show how cable has evolved from retransmitting a few local broadcast signals to selling advanced products such as telephone service, and take subtle shots at its telco competitors. For example, some print ads and one of the commercials note how long it took for Bell companies to progress from the rotary phone.

The spots are breaking as lawmakers are considering a possible rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

“I think we ought to be shouting from the rooftop how proud we are of this industry,” McSlarrow said last week.

NCTA also plans to make “A Great American Success Story” the theme of its National Show convention in April.