Time Warner Seizes on Consumer Control

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The latest phase in Time Warner Cable's ad campaign evolves from last fall's stage-setting "Now, Anything's Possible" to emphasize that digital-cable subscribers can gain greater control over their TV than ever before.

Each phase has its central 60-second spot. The key image has shifted from flying pigs, the most eye-grabbing visual from last fall's introductory campaign, to roses — as in stopping to the smell them.

The original, more serious ads touted the notion that you, as a subscriber, can "watch what you want when you want to watch it" and also took a few swipes at satellite TV.

The spring campaign — which uses the same umbrella theme, but is dubbed "Live in the Moment," is more lighthearted — though not all the spots work that well.

"Roses" and "Westie" are the best of the bunch. The former shows a young man going through his daily routine, unknowingly surrounded by the flower in various forms — from gardens to floral prints on women's clothing to a waitress' 'Rose' nametag. He returns home, sits down and then the word "Pause" pops on-screen.

As he leans forward to smell a single rose in a vase, the voiceover says, "Life has no pause button, but now TV does."

Several other spots, touting iControl on-demand movies and premium-channel fare, set up situations in which something unexpectedly keeps people from watching a favorite program. Someone in each spot then visualizes a bizarre 'what-if?' scenario, posing the notion whether ordinary TV should win out over real life.

For example, a boy asks his father — distracted by a TV golf match — for help with homework. Dad first visualizes what may happen if he doesn't help: the boy, kicked out of school, hops on a train with some hobos.

Hitting the pause button, the father says, "No son of mine eats pigeons with transient train-hoppers!"

"Westie" depicts a husband struggling with his dial-up Internet connection. When his wife says to make sure to feed the dog, he replies, "As soon as this downloads." Imagining the voraciously hungry "Westie" attacking a jogger, the wife says, "Dial-up won't bury joggers in my
garden."

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