Nominees: CTAM Hall of Fame

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The CTAM Hall of Fame was established in 1997 to honor the finest and most influential campaigns in the history of cable. Each year, a screening committee composed of six VIPs assembles a ballot of worthy nominees, which are voted on by a group of some of cable's most influential marketers. The winner will be announced at CTAM's annual Summit this week in Philadelphia.

Cox: Commitment to Customer Care

In the early 1990's, Cox Communications Inc. delivered analog cable to 1.7 million customers and had a bold vision for the future — harness its network to deliver digital services. It realized how important strong community relationships would be to future growth. Thus, the MSO initiated a long-term strategy to deliver high-tech services with a human touch.

Cox beefed up customer-service training, insisting that customer-care investments would bolster long-term company values. As a founder of Cable in the Classroom, it aggressively wired schools, and senior managers' compensation was tied to customer satisfaction.

In the late 1990s, Cox received J.D. Power and Associates' Highest Customer Satisfaction Award, and Cablevision magazine's Operator of the Year for “dramatically improving cable for millions of consumers.” Shortly thereafter, it initiated online payments and live response chats with customers.

In 2004, Cox upgraded Internet speeds at no charge and expanded payment options. J.D. Power awarded Cox Highest Overall Customer Satisfaction in Bundled Long-Distance Telephone, and Highest Local Telephone Customer Satisfaction in the West for two straight years.

Nickelodeon: The Big Help

For 10 years, Nickelodeon's “The Big Help,” an on-going public service campaign to connect kids to their world through volunteering, has left a lasting impression on a generation of kids by instilling in them the understanding that they were empowered to make a difference and change the world.

The campaign has taken full advantage of all Nickelodeon's resources including Nick online (nick.com, nickjr.com, teachers.nick.com) and Nickelodeon magazine. In addition, the channel devoted over 10% of its non-programmed airtime, and dedicated approximately $30 million of on-air, off-air and press support to the campaign. Endorsements included such notables as Colin Powell, President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and hundreds more.

Nickelodeon also runs The Big Help-A-Thon (an 8-hour televised extravaganza) each year. It has resulted in millions of kids calling in and pledging volunteer hours.

The Big Help made it possible for kids to keep their promise by collaborating with local cable affiliates, national non-profit partners and key elected officials to create grassroots volunteer opportunities for kids ages 6-14.

Showtime: No Limits

After conducting extensive research in 1997 to understand its subscriber base and more clearly define its audience base, Showtime crafted its “No Limits” brand positioning.

For Showtime, the message was clear both internally and externally: The network aimed to push the boundaries of everyday TV, and give audiences an emotional experience that has no limits — an experience that can't be derived from basic or broadcast networks.

A new Showtime logo was designed and “No Limits” was developed by an in-house creative team. The launch was backed by a $40 million multimedia campaign. From this evolved a platform for what constituted “No Limits” programming — including Lolita, Bastard Out of Carolina, and Queer as Folk.

Showtime's in-house agency, Red Group, ensures consistency in the brand message.

“No Limits” has earned numerous Broadcast Design Association and Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing awards, a finalist honor for the Clio Award, and a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art via the Association for Independent Commercial Producers Awards Show.

The Weather Channel: The Front

With its “The Front” campaign, The Weather Channel sought to dispel the notion that its viewers were nerdy, pocket-protector types. The campaign expressed The Weather Channel's passion, and celebrated the viewers' passion for weather, making it socially acceptable.

At the campaign's center is a neighborhood bar, The Front, where weather fans gather to discuss cumulus clouds, the “weather stats” on their favorite meteorologists, or trade one-of-a-kind autographed photos of the weather players. Complete with drinks such as “the monsoon,” there's a wall of fame with autographed photos of legendary meteorologists, while big screen TVs constantly play The Weather Channel, successfully linking the fan analogy.

“The Front” helped The Weather Channel maintain cable distribution and increase viewership by 3 million households. It shifted the brand's image, enabling The Weather Channel to develop an emotional connection to viewers. Things went from being mechanical to being human — from being nerdy to being endearingly quirky.

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