Comcast Corp. has embarked on a new multifaceted image
campaign designed to reflect the company's growing focus on new products and
The MSO will phase out its 30-year-old logo, which was
designed to evoke the look and feel of a television, and replace it with a more modern
Company executives introduced the new logo to system-level
employees over a two-week period last month, along with new television ads, a company
"credo" and the newly launched Comcast University training program.
Cross-channel television spots that broke Dec. 12 unveiled
the logo to subscribers across all Comcast systems.
Recent Comcast acquisitions and system swaps helped to
influence the timing of the branding campaign, according to executive vice president of
marketing and customer service Dave Watson. He noted that of the 8.2 million subscribers
Comcast stands to serve once its pending deals close, 60 percent will be new to the
Because employees from recently acquired systems will also
be new to the Comcast corporate culture, the MSO polled hundreds of existing workers to
help create a company credo to indoctrinate newcomers. The credo states that Comcast will
be the company that consumers "look to first for products that connect people to
what's important in their lives," Watson said.
"From a positioning point, we want our customers to
look to a cable company first -- which they don't do today -- for new products and
services, whether they're voice or data," he added. "We want to let
customers know we're very capable of delivering data and digital television."
The new TV spots, created by Narberth, Pa.-based ad agency
Red Tettemer, highlight the emotional aspects of communications, and not just the
functional ones, Watson said. Featuring the tag line, "What a cool new world,"
the ads show a group of aviators preparing for a parachute jump by watching The Weather
Channel, for example, and a car buff driving an automobile after he buys it online.
Watson said he sees two significant portals for Comcast:
the digital-cable portal and the data portal. He believes each will allow the MSO to offer
customers new services -- video-on-demand, electronic commerce or something else
altogether -- every 12 to 18 months.
"It's not a one-way medium anymore," Watson
said in explaining the emotional focus of the new ad campaign. "We want to let
customers know you can go places, do things."
To help appeal to consumers' lifestyles, the ads are
deliberately designed to target a more diverse audience, including youth, women, Hispanics
and other people of color -- what Comcast calls "the millennium customer."
"We had been producing fairly homogenous ads speaking to product benefits,"
In an effort to reach the Hispanic market, Comcast is
adding Spanish-language programming on digital tiers in some markets, and where it does,
it develops specific ads targeted toward Hispanic audiences. The MSO is still evaluating
whether to create an ad campaign in Spanish and whether it will hire a Hispanic ad agency.
Watson doesn't expect to expand the new ad spots to
broadcast television in the near term. He added that broadcast buys would make more sense
once Comcast's urban markets are more highly clustered and when the MSO has more new
products to sell.
While the new logo has been introduced to all Comcast
customers through cross-channel spots, the old logo will likely be around for a while as
the company updates its trucks and other branded properties.
Because of the economics involved in a rapid logo swap,
"We're phasing in the new look to consumers over time," Watson said.
"We didn't feel that we needed a flash cut."
With Comcast employees, the transition was a little
quicker. Top executives including Comcast Cable Communications Inc. president Steve Burke
went on tour to visit each system, although some of the events were held regionally.
In Comcast's hometown of Philadelphia, the company
used its First Union Center arena Dec. 9 to host 3,500 employees for news of the corporate
image campaign. Attendees received an early holiday gift in the form of free cable-modem
service. "They went crazy for that," Watson said.
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