Across the U.S., local operators' marketing campaigns are centering on changes in name. In some parts, Comcast is supplanting AT&T Broadband, while for others, the Bright House Networks moniker is replacing Time Warner Cable.
In the case of Bright House — the new moniker for former Time Warner Cable systems turned over last fall to Advance/Newhouse Communications Inc. — the nomenclature effort kicks into high gear this week.
After using TV spots to tease more than 2.1 million basic subscribers about the name flip for most of March, A/N will launch multimedia promotions for Bright House in all of its service areas, effective April 1.
Depending on the location, the promotion will include automatic rate reductions for combined digital-cable/high-speed Internet access packages, or the introduction of some new services. The campaigns are slated to run through the end of May.
Some elements of the campaign will be centralized, but others will be left up to an individual system's discretion. For example in Tampa, Fla. — where Advance/Newhouse counts more than 950,000 basic customers — the local system will deploy TV and print ads designed by national ad agency Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky.
But officials with the Tampa system tapped local shop The Dutcher Group to develop billboards.
Besides Tampa, the name switch is on tap for Orlando, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; portions of Detroit and Indianapolis; Bakersfield, Calif.; and a number of small systems in the Southeast.
The campaign calls for Bright House to become synonymous with customers having the full spectrum of cable services at their disposal.
Print and TV materials pop the question: "Do you live in a bright house?" From there, different services are showcased.
"We throw the question at them, having them wonder if they live in a home with the kind of advanced services our people can bring them," said Patrick Burke, the MSO's marketing vice president in Tampa. "Then we answer back that they can."
Adopting a new name was part of the MSO's strategy all along. Advance/Newhouse "is not really a consumer-friendly name, and we wanted one that generated a consumer-friendly approach," said chairman and CEO Bob Miron. Bright House was adopted after a selection process involving an employee contest and discussions with an outside firm.
The campaign cost was not disclosed.
Although the Comcast and Bright House name-change initiatives are unfolding concurrently, there are differences. At many former AT&T Broadband sites, new digital, video-on-demand, high-speed Web access or high-definition TV services are being proffered when the promotion starts.
Each Bright House system will set new service rollouts on its own, and determine whether to link those moves to the promotion, Miron said. Most A/N markets already offer VOD, HDTV and high-speed data.
"Comcast is doing their thing and we look to do ours," Miron said. "Where we don't have a full complement of services, we'll have them."
In the next month or so, for example, Bright House will introduce personal video recorder capabilities for digital subscribers. Another possibility for Tampa: A new foreign-language digital service tier, concentrated on Latino channels, Burke said.
The Tampa system will spread TV ads across broadcast stations serving the DMA throughout April, while the system utilizes cross-channel avails. Bay News 9, the local all-news network launched by Time Warner, will also carry the Bright House spots.
Print ads will appear in the Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Lakeland Ledger, Bradenton Herald
and other dailies.
Current Tampa digital customers who also subscribe to Road Runner will see the charge for their bundle of services automatically decrease by up to 22 percent this month, said Burke. New customers who take a digital-Road Runner package will come aboard at the same reduced rate.