WE, J&J are building their brands together

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

An innovative advertising partnership in cable television appears to be a triumph for advertiser, network and viewer.
WE: Women’s Entertainment teamed up with Johnson & Johnson as the sole sponsor of the network for 18 months when it relaunched last January, and recent research indicates the affiliation is working.
According to a report commissioned by WE and conducted by research firm Roper ASW, nearly 25 percent of respondents could recall without aid seeing various Johnson & Johnson products advertised on the network. That compares to an industry benchmark of nearly 15 percent of viewers who could name one or more advertisers without help for cable networks, according to an April 2000 Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau study conducted by Nielsen.
When researchers asked respondents about aided recall, inquiring whether they remembered seeing a particular ad on WE for a Johnson & Johnson product such as Aveeno or Tylenol, 59 percent of WE viewers did recollect seeing the specific ads they were asked about. That compares to 41 percent for other networks, according to an Ipsos-ASI, The Advertising Research Company study from 1999, said Heidi Diamond, executive vice president of AMC Networks, which owns WE.
In addition, nearly 72 percent of WE viewers had bought a Johnson & Johnson product within the last 30 to 90 days. “This to me was the most significant part of the study. Not only are we building awareness of Johnson & Johnson on WE, but WE viewers are converting that into purchases,” she said.
The affiliation has helped both entities strengthen and build each other’s brands, she said. While WE intends to seek other advertisers after its 18-month deal, which has been valued at $10 million to $20 million, ends this summer, Ms. Diamond expects Johnson & Johnson will remain a stalwart advertiser.
The unconventional alliance helped craft the look of the network, she said. Without the collaboration, a portion of commercial time would have been filled with direct response ads and promotions. “This really enabled the network to raise the bar,” she said.
In addition, the network increased its reach by 83 percent, from 23 million subscribers last January to 43 million at the end of 2001, growth that the network attributes to its rebranding and to increased industry awareness of the need for and success of women’s programming.
Considering WE’s growth, the partnership seems to be a good deal for both parties, said Fred Dubin, executive vice president national broadcast with Media Edge: CIA in New York. While the sole-sponsorship model has been successful in this case, the industry may not see a lot more deals like this only because there is a limit to new cable networks and to advertisers large enough to make such a deal. For the Roper ASW study, the firm interviewed 1,000 participants via phone.