Product-focused, transaction-orientated advertising apparently isn’t moving the needle enough for Cablevision’s Optimum brand.
The cable giant is now seeking a broader brand image campaign to distinguish Optimum—which offers digital TV, digital phone service and Internet access—from rivals such as Verizon. The image effort—and not transactional marketing—is the focus of the assignment, according to an initial request for information that Cablevision distributed to interested agencies.
“Given the heavy volume of product and retail messaging, the brand has arguably been diluted, and there is currently a heavy focus on rebranding Optimum, or, as one senior client executive put it, ‘We want to find our voice,’” the RFI states. “Given the existing heat of the competition, this is a priority.”
The review is now in its middle stages, with Cablevision executives scheduled to meet with semifinalists this week. A cut to a handful of finalists is expected next week.
Optimum’s media business is not in play and remains in-house. The brand’s media spending exceeded $65 million in 2010 and $63 million in the first 10 months of 2011, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online outlays.
Gardner Nelson + Partners in New York creates the bulk of Optimum’s current ads, which tout the speed of the brand’s Internet service and affordability of its bundled offering of Internet, TV and phone services. Some ads feature spokespeople, while others depict family members who use Optimum services.
The review committee includes senior evp Kristin Dolan (wife of Cablevision CEO James Dolan), evp of marketing Jon Hargis and Joe Leonard, vp of marketing and advertising, according to the RFI. Hasan + Co., a Raleigh, N.C.-based consultancy, is managing the process.
A Cablevision representative acknowledged the review, adding that "as one of the top advertisers in the market, it should come as no surprise that we are often in discussions related to new and innovative ways to reach our audiences."
Gardner Nelson is said to be participating in the process. The other contenders could not be determined. Cablevision, which is based in Bethpage, N.Y., plans to complete its search in late March.