Cablevision Touts Broadband Benefits in DRTV Spots

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Cablevision is pushing the practical and fun benefits, rather than just the speed, of its Optimum Online broadband Internet service in a line of DRTV spots.

The short-form spots began running this month on stations carried by the cable provider in the Bronx; Westchester County, NY; Brooklyn; Long Island; Connecticut and New Jersey.

The ads appeal to consumers' sense of humor, but also show how having broadband Internet access could change their lives, said Valerie Green, vice president of product strategy at Cablevision.

Previous Cablevision DRTV advertising for Optimum Online also used humor, but focused on showing how fast broadband access is compared with dial-up access. The cable provider ran a short-form spot from April through June featuring Latrell Sprewell of the New York Knicks, who is seen describing Optimum Online as "stupid fast."

In the latest campaign, Cablevision depicts ordinary consumers enjoying the benefits of Internet access "when you want it, when you need it," the tagline for the campaign. In one of two 30-second spots, a woman embarrasses a refrigerator repairman who tells her a replacement part will cost $200 by going online and discovering proof that the part only costs $39.95.

"She's empowered," Green said. "She's able to get information instantly."

The second spot depicts a man who downloads his favorite 1970s tune when his wife leaves the house, then dons clothing appropriate to the period and begins dancing around his home. His wife catches him when she returns momentarily to retrieve her forgotten purse.

This spot appeals to one of the most common consumer uses of the Internet, downloading music, and shows how much more convenient broadband access can make that activity, Green said.

The two 30-second spots will run on cable channels through late September. A third spot, in 30-second and 60-second formats, features another Knicks player, Allan Houston, and is running on network channels.

This spot, which will run until Aug. 1 and then move to more affordable cable channels, shows Houston in the role of an Optimum Online door-to-door salesman who goes to a consumer's house to demonstrate the service. While this spot also uses humor, it represents more of a hard sell in that it depicts Houston explaining the benefits of Optimum Online step by step, Green said.

"We wanted to be confident that we were selling the hardest on what's an expensive broadcast spot," she said.

All the spots give consumers a toll-free number to call. Cablevision customers who subscribe to the company's "family" cable package can receive Optimum Online for $39.95 a month, while basic subscribers and non-cable television customers pay $49.95 a month.

The offer includes a free cable modem, valued at $199, and free installation. In addition, Cablevision does not require consumers to sign a contract to receive Optimum Online.

There were 3 million customers in Cablevision's service area as of March 31, 550,000 of whom were Optimum Online customers.

Green declined to reveal details about preliminary results of the campaign. She said Cablevision recorded a spike in Optimum Online sales after the start of the campaign, before the launch of a coinciding direct mail campaign and attributable solely to its DRTV advertising, and plans to refresh the campaign with new creative but using the same tactics after September.

Advertising agency Red Tettemer, Narberth, PA, produced the spots. Cablevision declined to disclose the cost of production or its weekly media spending on the campaign.

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