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Cox Scores with Disneyland Promotion

Cox Communications Inc.'s Orange County, Calif., cluster, hitched its fortunes to a famed local mouse and ended up with the greatest digital-cable sales quarter for the system yet.

The campaign, "Magic From Morning 'Til Night," partnered the cable operator with Mickey-Mouse-eared Disney Channel and the local theme park, Disneyland Resort. The pitch was designed to attract new digital subscribers to the operator and to drive attendance to the amusement park. Cox also rewarded early digital adopters in the fourth-quarter campaign, typically a slow sales period.

Marketers at the 236,000-subscriber system say their best acquisition results come from local partnerships. Because Los Angeles-based broadcasters' signals travel so far in the region, it doesn't make sense for Cox to partner up with them and run ads well outside the cable territories, noted Colleen Langner, the cluster's director of marketing, retail and sales.

Therefore, the operation takes advantage of local opportunities, such as the Disneyland partnership, tie-ins with Knott's Berry Farm amusement park and even links to the recent Super Bowl in San Diego.

A Disney-related campaign in 1997-designed to promote the fact the Disney Channel had moved to the basic tier-was the previous performance champ for the system. The system returned to that formula, this time to drive digital sales while promoting the addition of Toon Disney to analog basic.

"We're having a great year on digital, but this gave us a great boost," Langner said. Company executives did not discuss specific subscriber gains other than to state the campaign helped deliver a record month for digital cable connects. Direct mail for the campaign, designed by SCDRG Inc. of Irvine, Calif., attracted three times the industry's usual response rate.