Vignettes are healthy boost to business

Jun 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Community-related ad sales campaigns are bringing nontraditional revenue to TV stations in Lansing, Mich.
Young Broadcasting-owned CBS affiliate WLNS-TV created a multimedia campaign, “Partners in Health,” together with one of the market’s major hospitals. The hospital bought spots, and in turn WLNS produced health-themed vignettes that aired in all dayparts as added value.
WLNS then branched out to a community-wellness campaign, “Step Up: 100 Days to Better Health,” which celebrated its 100th day on June 8 with a gathering and a walk in the state capital. Nonprofit agencies and nontraditional advertisers teamed up for the project, which included vignettes encouraging viewers to take up healthy activities such as walking, biking and swimming.
The project is expected to start up again in January, when people have made New Year’s resolutions.
“Being able to tie in to causes that benefit the greater good of the community is something everybody is interested in,” said WLNS General Manager Ross Woodstock. “If you do something that advocates a healthier lifestyle, people are interested in that. It’s a natural thing to want to advertise and be connected with that because you get a nice halo effect from that.”
WSYM-TV, a Journal Broadcast Group-owned Fox affiliate, is using its connection to NASCAR to sell ads. WSYM has race cars in four different divisions at a local race track. Even though there is no NASCAR division at the track, local advertisers have been sponsoring the Fox 47 cars. WSYM General Sales Manager Gary Baxter said clients buy sponsorships on the cars and are included in on-air promos for its Fox 47 local race team. The clients also buy a schedule on the station when NASCAR airs on Fox.
In a market our size, it’s helped us generate $200,000 in full-season sponsorship sales,” Mr. Baxter said. “NASCAR on Fox has been the sizzle-the local track has been the closer.”
Coleen King, owner of local ad agency King Media, said the main reason her clients buy TV is because it works. She said sports is big in the market, the home of Michigan State University. She said whenever the university is in contention in a sport such as hockey, football or basketball, WLNS always airs live broadcast specials, for which her clients buy sponsorships. “They get great results from it; it’s great local identity.”
Ms. King said one popular strategy with her clients is instead of buying spots that run equally over time in several weeks, buying them into a shorter period of time, such as Tuesday to Friday or Sunday through Wednesday, to get people to go to their stores the following weekend.
According to BIA Financial Network, Lansing TV revenues were about $31.9 million in 2001 and are expected to be about $33.5 million in 2002. Top ad categories are auto, health care and financial.