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Concrete Pours Out Spot Plan

Cable subscribers on systems owned by Adelphia Communications Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. are viewing very similar commercials these days. In fact, the spots feature the same actors touting the different MSO brands.

And if Concrete Pictures Inc. president Jeff Boortz gets his way, cable marketers from other companies could team up to shoot live-action commercials on the same day, sharing the production costs while finding a way to market their individual brands and products.

“There's no reason to reinvent the wheel every time when the products we're selling are so similar,” Boortz said.

Last spring, Concrete Pictures shot some live-action commercials for Adelphia, which pitched its digital-cable product. The firm recently delivered some similar spots for Charter, featuring the same talent.

Boortz wouldn't say how much Concrete charged the cable operators to produce the commercials, but noted that it would have been less expensive if the Adelphia and Charter spots were shot on the same day.

Concrete, which has also produced some advertisements for Comcast Corp., is now pitching several MSOs on the idea of filming up to 15 commercials for each operator on the same day. By pooling their resources, operators could obtain the type of quality DirecTV Inc. and other national advertisers achieve with their commercials, while sharing in the production costs, according to Boortz.

“It is really important that we find a way to collaboratively market, because it saves everybody money. And when you're saving money, you can spend more money on more campaigns,” he added.

The major MSOs have worked on collaborative marketing efforts in the past — namely the Only Cable Can campaign, organized by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

Some of the spots that were produced by consumer electronics firms for Only Cable Can campaign included tags for local MSOs, while other commercials were more generic and didn't contain the name of any local distributors.

CTAM's next Only Cable Can campaign, which was set to debut this fall, was recently cancelled. In its place, major MSOs are developing a new cable ad campaign that is being led by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.