Network Parts Ways With Mullen, Selects N.Y. Shop For $4 Mil. Account

NEW YORK – Citing the agency’s local marketing expertise, cable channel Outdoor Life Network has awarded its ad account to Burkhardt & Hillman in New York following a review.
The shop bested Grey Entertainment and Earle Palmer Brown, both in New York, for creative and media responsibilities on the $4 million business, said Wendy McCoy, director of marketing at the Stamford, Conn.-based client.
Outdoor Life Network parted company with Mullen at the end of last year. Continuing to work with the Wenham, Mass.-based shop became a logistical problem, McCoy said. At that time, the channel gave its marketing a local focus, “which would require intense planning and strategizing, and distance was becoming a problem. We were not able to meet very easily in person,” she said.
McCoy emphasized that the network was “pleased with the work that Mullen has done . . . It was not a creative but more of a logistical issue” that led to the split. Mullen executives agreed that they had parted with the network “as friends.”
Mullen’s most recent TV spot for the client features a young boy who dreams of climbing a mountain. His ambition is realized in adulthood. The tagline: “Television with a view.”
Burkhardt & Hillman’s strategy, which included identifying consumers at a local level who would be most interested in the channel and encouraging them to write their cable company requesting the service, clinched the assignment.
“Their top people are really hands- on and their thinking was really brought to bear,” McCoy said.
Agency principal Patrick Hillman expects to break his first work for the client this summer. Outdoor Life Network’s current tagline may change, and future ads may place more of an emphasis on the depth of the channel’s environmental programming.
The client has been struggling of late to get its programming carried on cable systems nationwide. Currently, it can only be seen in about 13.5 million homes. Outdoor Life Network received a boost from a recent investment by Fox/Liberty, which took a 33 percent stake in the company and its sister network, Speedvision.
Devoted to racing sports, Speedvision hired Mullen in June 1995 for its launch. The network is now working exclusively with a New York-based agency called AdVision on mostly local marketing projects, a Speedvision representative said last week.
– with Sarah Jones