ATLANTA-The Martin Agency joined the stable of shops working for Turner Broadcasting System last week, as the Richmond, Va., shop was named to handle creative work for the Turner Classic Movies cable channel.
Martin prevailed in a one-month, three-agency race for TCM over Gotham in New York and Martin/Williams in Minneapolis.
The agency's first assignment is a print trade campaign aimed at cable operators that will break this fall. Consumer advertising will eventually be included in the mix.
"The pitch actually focused on the trade campaign [for cable operators]," said Claiborne Mason, senior vice president and group management supervisor at Martin. "We introduced some elements for the consumer side as well."
The thrust of the advertising will be to urge the operators to add TCM to their systems, and to coax consumers into lobbying their individual cable systems to do the same. With most cable systems nearing their current available programming capacity, getting a new channel added has become a high-stakes proposition.
"We're probably in the most competitive environment the cable industry has ever seen," said TCM vice president of marketing Katherine Evans, referring to the fight to get channels added. "It's a huge marketing challenge."
Account compensation has not been determined, according to Evans. Previous TCM work had been handled in-house and by smaller shops on a project basis.
Trade media buying is handled by an Atlanta agency, Communication Trends. According to Competitive Media Reporting, the channel's advertising spending has been minimal since its inception in 1994.
"We're fairly happy with our growth so far, " Evans said. "The Martin Agency really did their homework and showed great insight into our business. It's clear they have a true passion for the product, which really came through in their work."