Target Select Cable Advertising, reaching 390,000 cable
subscribers via four Pennsylvania operators, has come up with a novel way to do well while
also doing good.
Todd Donnelly, the Allentown, Pa.-based interconnect's
vice president of sales, has been selling local advertisers on packages of time that will
be used to boost awareness of charities and nonprofit groups in the Lehigh Valley area.
That six-month campaign will culminate in a live
fund-raising event this fall, "CableFest '99." At that event, advertisers,
cable networks and operators will share booth space with the charities and nonprofits.
The operators are RCN Corp. and Service Electric Cable TV
Inc., serving the Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton); Blue Ridge Cable
Television, serving the Pocono Mountains; and Time Warner Cable, serving Reading.
A total of 18 national cable networks and one local network
(Comcast SportsNet) have signed on, as well as five local advertisers, with "another
six" sponsors being sought, Donnelly said.
Each advertiser will buy about $35,000 in time, he added,
and their combined awareness-campaign commitments and CableFest '99 packages will top
Besides buying the awareness spots -- 500 commercials each
-- the advertisers will purchase booth space and signage and share them with various
charities and nonprofit groups; they will also buy 500 tickets each to CableFest.
In addition, the ad revenues will help to cover the
overhead costs of mounting that all-day event, and leftover funds will be donated to the
charities, said Jennifer Boon, Target Select's sales-development coordinator.
Donnelly and Boon said the five advertisers booked so far
are PepsiCo Inc., Laneco Food Lane Supermarkets, Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health
Network, Wegman's grocery store and Bucks Development, a land developer.
Their spots will break in April, with the awareness drive
designed to significantly raise the profile of the area charities and nonprofits, which
one charity executive called "the Lehigh Valley's best-kept secret" until
CableFest '99 will be staged Saturday, Oct. 9, at both
the Stabler Arena and the Lehigh Valley University campus site in Bethlehem. It will try
to entertain attendees, while also informing them about the charities and nonprofit groups
and raising funds through ticket sales ($10 for adults, with kids under 12 admitted free).
Among the programmers taking part, Nickelodeon will have
costumed Rugrats characters on hand; The Nashville Network will feature NASCAR
drivers; The Golf Channel will offer golf lessons; and others such as CNBC, Comcast
SportsNet and The Weather Channel will set up simulated broadcast booths for attendees to
Based on the results so far, CableFest will likely become
an annual event, Donnelly said.