Time Warner Spreads Goodwill

Time Warner Inc. is in the middle of a $4 million marketing plan that combines direct mail, television and radio to support the Summer of Goodwill Passport.

The company has used its magazine and cable subscription lists to promote the Goodwill Passport, which provides family discount offers throughout the New York metropolitan area. The passport is part of Time Warner's “Summer of Goodwill” initiative, a series of sports, cultural and entertainment events that runs until Labor Day and includes the Goodwill Games.

Time Warner expects to issue 1 million Goodwill Passports through a 6 million-piece direct mailer that coincides with a series of four, 30-second direct response television ads; two radio spots; ads in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and New York Magazine; and an outdoor program that includes the Metropolitan Transit Authority's MetroCards.

“Direct marketing is a big part of the passport program and the Summer of Goodwill,” said Derek Johnson, a Time Warner vice president who oversees special projects. “It has been very cost effective for us and an obvious marketing resource given the business lines that we are in.”

The passport, which sells for $19.98, provides more than $250 in savings on retail, sports and entertainment deals, as well as discounts on tickets for the quadrennial Goodwill Games, which is taking place in New York from July 19 to Aug. 2. The Goodwill Games has embarked on its own $40 million marketing campaign to drive ticket sales. Time Warner indirectly owns the Goodwill Games through its ownership of games founder Turner Entertainment.

Each medium in the passport marketing mix features a toll-free number that directs callers to one of Time Warner's nationwide call centers already handling the company's magazine and cable subscription teleservices programs.

The direct mail piece is a two-fold postcard with a business reply card attached. The “Good to Go” piece showcases the offers and provides information about the games, programs and charitable contributions. It features Warner Bros.' Tasmanian Devil, one of several of the company's animated characters used in the advertising.

“We are using the 800 number in two ways,” Johnson said. “We are using it as a number on our marketing materials but also as the forum for which we are selling the passports.” The toll-free number features a prerecorded message prompting callers either to place an order or to hear more information. The voice response unit provides telephone numbers for purchasing games tickets.

Time Warner is looking at the marketing effort as a pilot for seasons to come but does not plan to track responses to the individual offers in the discount package.

“I'm very confident if we do this again or roll it out as a national product, we would look more closely at the returns,” Johnson said.

The company will evaluate the number of passports issued. The passport offers a range of discounts on Time Warner properties, including free movie passes, admission discounts to Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park & Safari, discount offers at Warner Bros. Studio Stores and tickets to Major League Baseball games featuring the Atlanta Braves, owned by Ted Turner, and the New York Yankees or New York Mets.

Time Warner has leveraged its ownership of Turner Broadcasting for the promotion's media buy that runs across nine stations, including TBS, TNT, the Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.

The company is preparing two more spots as part of the DRTV program that recently broke two spots, one features a voice-over by Lauren Hutton and the other combines live-action and animation and appearances by the Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner and Speed Buggy cartoon characters.

“My big challenge was to re-position the games against New York,” said Steven Brunner, director of marketing for the Goodwill Games. “We have to market to New York, but we also have to market nationally and internationally.” The Goodwill Games has tagged every piece of advertising with its Web site and the phone number for ticket purchases. “Ticket sales are moving. There are plenty of tickets available, but they are moving well,” Brunner said.

Unlike the Olympics. the Goodwill Games offers cash prizes. Games events include basketball, boxing, diving, track and field, beach volleyball, gymnastics and nine other competitions.

Proceeds from passport sales will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and to UNICEF International the Goodwill Games' official charities.

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