Long gone are the days when cable networks routinely showered their distribution affiliates with tchotchkes, road trips, sweepstakes prizes and merchandise in support of local advertising sales efforts. With household distribution no longer the keen pursuit it once was for cable programmers in the go-go years, the business incentive to help affiliates populate local ad inventory has lessened.
But that doesn’t mean the game is over. A recent case in point comes from Turner Network Sales, which is dispatching support teams, merchandise and a traveling road show to key affiliate markets this summer to promote healthy habits for kids – and advertising partner tie-ins for affiliates of Turner’s Cartoon Network.
Personnel from Cartoon Network are on the road now as part of Cartoon’s Move It Movement Tour, a summer campaign to fight obesity in kids 6-14. Now in its third year, the tour – and the affiliate presence backing it – is bigger than ever, Turner says.
“Move It Movement” employs a script that’s common now in the network-affiliate ad sales domain: provide a mechanism for local sponsors to be identified with a larger cause and nationally known brands. In this case, local affiliates in cities where the tour is held can tie in with the campaign through various on-site branding and added-value advertising opportunities including an on-site tent that can be given to local affiliates’ ad sales clients for distribution of samples and giveaways.
Spotlight on recreation
In Pittsburgh, Comcast and Cartoon held their version of the festival at the Sandcastle Water Park, a long-time Pittsburgh Comcast Spotlight client, according to a Spotlight spokesperson. This is Spotlight/Pittsburgh’s third year of participation. Like other cable advertising participants, Comcast and its Spotlight arm get customizable media alerts for local outreach plus cross-channel spots that can be tagged with local advertiser messages. As Comcast Spotlight’s Dennis Marshall pointed out in a recent blog post, taggable spots continue to be popular with local advertisers as way to align with networks, causes and campaigns.
The 23-and-growing city tour launched on June 10 in Atlanta and will conclude on Aug. 12 in Houston. The tour features multiple activity and learning stations, incorporating additional partners including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), NBA/WNBA FIT & NBA Hoop Troop, National Football League and The PGA of America. Two national PSAs are being aired—one featuring Michelle Obama discussing how kids can get further involved with Let’s Move! and the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) program.
Other cities included in this year’s tour include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Tampa, Denver, Sacramento, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Comcast Spotlight is the dominant affiliate in this lineup, but local operations owned Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Cablevision Systems are also participating, Cartoon Network says.
The PSAs have been running on Cartoon, CartoonNetwork.com, the partner’s websites and Cartoon Network’s Facebook page, which has more than 8 million “friends.” The campaign’s corporate partner for the last three years is Crayola. Fast-food retailer Subway also joined this year as an ad sales partner, sponsoring the skate park area of the tour festivities, according to Cartoon spokesman Rachelle Savoia.
Silence, please: MSOs stay mum about ad sales by network (August 2011)
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