The Twin Cities Cable Consortium will continue its attack
on direct-broadcast satellite with its renewal of an earlier local-broadcast campaign,
which will air from September through December.
But the anti-DBS spots will be just one of several in the
The consortium -- consisting of MediaOne and Paragon Cable
systems -- is running this campaign as a co-operative effort with two local TV stations --
NBC affiliate KARE and CBS affiliate WCCO -- as it did last year. Mark Hammerstrom, vice
president of Paragon, felt that this may be the first cooperative broadcast-cable campaign
of its kind in the United States.
The consortium's 1998 budget is $200,000, with its buy
including the rotation of the two new spots mixed with returnees from last May, when it
spent $350,000 on six spots, according to a spokeswoman for Bolin Marketing/Advertising,
the consortium's Minneapolis-based agency.
The spots -- which didn't run on cable -- as well as a
tie-in mailing promote cable programming as offering prospective subscribers value,
variety and clear reception.
The anti-satellite message is low-key, however. In a
30-second spot featuring a TV repairman, which also aired last year, people bring their TV
sets to his store to get more news and information, more sports and improved reception.
The repairman tells them that he'll take care of it, and he then phones Twin Cities
about its discounted $14.95 installation price. At the end of that spot, a dissatisfied
satellite customer brings his dish to the store.
Copy in a mail piece, featuring characters from the TV
spots, said, "Only cable TV brings you picture-perfect reception of all local
channels." The mailing adds another indirect swipe at satellite's
additional-outlet costs by saying, "And with low-cost additional outlets, you can
have cable in virtually every room in your house."
Last year's similarly light-hearted,
"real-people" campaign was themed, "Gotta Get It -- Cable TV," but
this year's has no specific theme line. It does, however, have a similar jingle,
"Cable TV," in which those letters translate into Twin Cities' phone number
The two new spots are entitled "School" and
"Busy Mom." In the first, a student at home is working on a lesson on a laptop
computer, the screen of which features additional information about the wildlife show that
she's watching on cable -- an indirect reference to cable on the Internet. Later, she
surprises her teacher and her classmates by answering a difficult question about penguins.
The busy mom -- after a hectic day of working, walking the
dog and driving the kids here and there -- says she's going to unwind with cable:
"Tonight we're going to take in a concert
[A&E Network's James Taylor] and brush up on our history [The History Channel],
and tomorrow, I'm taking a cooking class [Food Network]."
"One of the strongest benefits that cable offers is
crystal-clear reception," said Steve Siefert, co-creative director at Bolin.
"Cable's competition is not local TV: It's satellite. And with satellite,
you can't get local TV. So our message is clear: Cable can add a lot of value to your
day, with high-quality programming, the variety that you want [and] clear reception for
The consortium's local-TV campaign last year helped to
boost subscribers and reduce disconnects, the agency said in a prepared statement, without