A Great Adventure

For years, Nancy Nalven looked for ways to team the New York and Philadelphia interconnects in a joint local ad sales promotion. Finally, she went to extremes.

Extreme sports, that is. Nalven, senior director of creative services for Time Warner CityCable Advertising in New York, concocted a campaign last summer to plug the Six Flags/Great Adventure amusement park in New Jersey. With the help of ESPN's Extreme Bike Jam, she wheeled in bike stunt drivers for special shows at Great Adventure and promoted their appearance with spots on Time Warner's New York systems, the New York Interconnect and Comcast MarketLink's Philadelphia interconnect.

Thanks to Nalven's efforts and tight coordination with the two interconnects, the same commercial promoting the bike shows ran in all New York and Philadelphia cable homes, a total of 7.1 million households. Time Warner created the 30-second spot using footage from ESPN's X Games. Six Flags and the two interconnects approved the script and all cable operators heavily ran the promos on MTV, BET, ESPN2, Nickelodeon and other cable networks catering to kids, teens and families.

"As far as I know, it's the first time that all three groups have gotten together for a promotion," says Nalven, a 10-year veteran at Time Warner CityCable. "Everybody was so incredibly easygoing. Six Flags was an important client for everyone."

The result? Hordes of people jammed Great Adventure's viewing section July 14 to see the three bike shows. Spectators also received free biking posters and ESPN key chains as well as the opportunity to collect autographs from their favorite riders. "There was definitely a nice buzz," Nalven says. "It was very emotionally satisfying."

It was financially satisfying too. Delighted Great Adventure officials report that many biking fans made special park trips to see the performances. "The client said it added to park attendance," says Amy Friedland, marketing director for the New York Interconnect.

Although no one had ever run a promotional campaign in Philadelphia and New York simultaneously, Nalven says it made sense to do so with Great Adventure because of its unique regional appeal. Located about the same distance from each city, the park draws heavily from both metro areas.

"Six Flags was the perfect client to do it with," she says. "They're a big marketer in both markets."

The event scored so well that Nalven is now thinking about an encore, especially with Great Adventure. She's not sure any other clients fit the bill, but notes that, "if an opportunity presents itself and makes sense, I'll do it again."

Afterall, she adds, "We now have the relationships in place."