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MSO’s Effort Includes First-Ever Broadcast Component

Comcast Corp. is turning to a popular game show to drive a new national ad campaign, which marks the first time that the nation’s largest MSO is running spots on broadcast television.

Introducing a new “Comcastic” tagline, the national spots, which are scheduled on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The WB and UPN, feature clips of M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit from The $10,000 Pyramid — the 1970s game show popularized by host Dick Clark and most recently by Donny Osmond. Comcast and ad-agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners recruited Swit to provide new voiceovers for the game show, in which she prompts a contestant with clues like “high definition TV, amazing picture quality,” to elicit the correct answer of, “things that are good.”

Swit uses the clues “warts, satellite dishes” to draw the answer “things that should be removed.”

The clue, “a free library of on-demand movies” elicits the correct answer: “things you’d give your right arm for.”

And the contestant erupts in celebration when he correctly responds, “things that are Comcastic,” after Swit gives him the clues, “HDTV, high-speed Internet, free on-demand movies.”

Comcast began running the Comcastic national spots on Oct. 3. Spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said the Pyramid spots are designed to both help Comcast recruit new cable customers, and retain its existing subscriber base.

The MSO is also using the Comcastic slogan in direct-mail campaigns to subscribers, in addition to local marketing initiatives, Moyer added.

The Pyramid spot, which Comcast aired during Fox’s coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs, is currently the one spot that Comcast is running nationally. But Moyer said the company may add another commercial during a second flight, the timing of which hasn’t been determined.

Two additional commercials from Goodby, Silverstein — one promoting high-speed Internet access, and one touting video on demand, began running in select markets on Oct. 17.

None of the national spots include mentions of Comcast’s Digital Phone product. Moyer said local Comcast systems that are offering customers the Voice over Internet Protocol phone service are running commercials that were created by The Richards Group, another of the company’s ad agencies.

Comcast signed San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein as its top shop in February, replacing Philadelphia ad agency Red Tetemmer. The company’s push is headed by new senior vice president of marketing Marvin Davis, who helped put Verizon Wireless on the map with its “Can you hear me now?” ad campaign.

Davis said in an interview in July that Comcast would focus more in delivering consistency in its local and national ad campaigns, and that buying more broadcast spots would be a part of the MSO’s strategy.

“When you look at who needs to hear our message, it’s all households, so we need to make sure our media plan has an element in it that reaches them, and broadcast is one of the most effective ways to do that,” Davis said.