Tyee Left Out of Media Loop for Excite@Home Long Form

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Tyee Euro RSCG said it is having trouble gauging the effects of a new long form it produced for Excite@Home because @Home has not provided enough information about consumer responses.

Excite@Home has independent deals with cable broadcasters, including Cox, Comcast and AT&T, and the media planning and buying were handled through @Home and its affiliates leaving Tyee out of the loop.

The long form and two successive spots, one 60-seconds long and the other 120-seconds, tout the newest version of the co-branded @Home broadband cable service that launched nationally April 4. The service is installed and serviced by the local cable broadcasters with which that Excite@Home has agreements. The show and spots started airing nationally in March through @Home cable affiliates, but Tyee isn't sure when or where.

"It leaves us in a kind of funny position," said Hugh Allspaugh, vice president of client services and business development at Tyee, Portland, OR. "Normally, what we can do is by buying and planning the media and then managing the campaign, we can show people the returns and the ratios. In this situation, it has been difficult to really understand how they are going to measure the show."

Allspaugh said that as a full service company, Tyee feels it is best suited to guide a client through the entire DRTV process. In this situation, Tyee had no say in how or if the spots and infomercial for @Home were properly targeted or whether the company used any general methodology to reach its target. Allspaugh also said the normal effectiveness ratio of advertising spent to revenue has been thrown out the window for now.

In response to Tyee's concerns, Jennifer Doyle, vice president of marketing at @Home, Redwood City, CA, assured DM News that "every operator in every market we have deals with has always used the infomercial pretty extensively. It has been hard to gauge who is showing it because it was sent to them weeks before the April 4 launch of the service, and many cable operators did not want to broadcast it until the new service was available to their customers."

Doyle said that @Home would be working with the cable operators individually to track reaction to the show and spots. She added that instead of judging the productions on a national basis, @Home will judge effectiveness by taking a sample of larger television markets.

Both Allspaugh and Doyle said the problems surrounding the subsequent deployment of the show have not overshadowed the fact that both companies feel it will serve its purpose and that the two would like to work together again.

"But it would be really great to explore better ways to manage the media so they can have a proper campaign," Allspaugh said. "We have to work together and say, 'These are our targets; this is how we'll reach them,' and then we can actually track the incremental sales that go to subscriptions."

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