Cox Dangles Disneyland Day for Digital Subs

In an effort to spark interest in its digital-cable service, Cox Communications Inc.'s Orange County, Calif., division joined forces with the Disneyland theme park for a consumer promotion that launches Wednesday (Nov. 15).

The "Magic from Morning' Til Night" campaign revisits a successful 1997 partnership between Cox and Disneyland called "Walk in Walt's Footsteps." Like the earlier effort, the current promotion offers subscribers a chance to win a free day at Disneyland in Anaheim, including early entry to the park just for Cox customers.

"Since Disneyland is in our backyard, we had a great opportunity to work with them," Cox Orange County director of marketing, retail and sales Colleen Langner said.

Disney Channel was a natural partner in the first Disneyland campaign because at that time, the local Cox system had just taken the network from premium to basic. This year, Langner said, the system launched Toon Disney on its digital platform, providing Cox with a second chance to work with the programmer.

Toon Disney will give branded denim jackets to 100 second-prize winners. One grand-prize winner will receive a package that includes two nights at a Disneyland Resorts hotel, four passes to the theme park, three days worth of meal vouchers, $500 in Disney Dollars and a VIP tour of the park.

"There's a lot of detail that Walt [Disney] put into the park that guests might not typically see," Walt Disney Attractions Southern California regional promotions manager Adrian van Deudekom said.

The first-prize package-four early entrance passes and a "Magic Morning" breakfast with Disney characters-will be awarded to 250 entrants.

"One thousand Cox customers will gain early admission to the Park on Sunday, March 25, 2001," said David Robertson, president of SCDRG Inc., which helped develop both Disneyland campaigns for Cox.

Winners will get to stop by the recently renovated Tomorrowland section of the park early, Langner said.

In the last campaign, the early-entrance section was young-child favorite Fantasyland. Winners wore a badge that said, "I'm a Cox customer."

Some of them continued to wear their badges throughout the day, which served as a conversation piece for others visiting the park, Langner said.

It's important for the Cox system to work with local landmarks like Disneyland to get its promotional message out, because Orange County is located in the tough greater Los Angeles media market.

"We can't buy radio and television broadcast," said Langner, because the system controls just a fraction of its market.

"These are the types of promotions we enjoy the most, any time we can bring added value to customers," Langner added. "No one can bring added value better than the Disney name."

Like the first campaign, this effort aims to help draw more traffic to Disneyland before the holidays, when the tourist trade is lighter. A Cox direct-mail piece promotes seasonal events such as the Christmas Fantasy Parade.

"This promotion helps us to communicate to people of Orange County what's going on during the holidays," van Deudekom said. "In return, we offer a prize available only to Cox customers."

The Cox promotion includes three components: a direct-mail piece for non-customers; bill inserts and other mailers for analog customers encouraging a switch to digital; and thank you messages for current digital subscribers which informed them of their automatic entry in the sweepstakes.

Current digital customers also receive free pay-per-view coupons. Cox tied the PPV coupons into the overall Disney theme with reminders that Disney movies
Toy Story 2


would be offered in January.

New digital-cable customers are offered free installation and a special three-month price point of $49.99 per month during the campaign.

In addition to direct mail, Cox is supporting the campaign with newspaper ads, bus shelter spots, and automated telemarketing messages. The operator will also send electronic-mail messages to its Cox@Home high-speed data customers that don't have digital cable.

In the Community

, a 30-minute program on Cox's Orange County local-origination station, will spotlight the Disneyland promotion.

Aside from the Disney networks, programmers Home Box Office, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Fox Family and Nickelodeon also lent their support to the effort.

Cox started work on the current Disneyland promotion last February, and spent about 90 days collaborating with SCDRG on the details, Langner said.

"It's a little easier this time around since everyone knows each other," she added.

Cox and Disneyland executives said they're likely to team up for similar promotions in the future.

Disneyland has not worked with other local cable partners, but would consider doing so "if it makes sense to all parties concerned," van Deudekom said.