Feb 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

When Ehrlich Toyota was planning a grand opening for its Fort Collins, Colo., car dealership last summer, Comcast Spotlight got the chance to flex its marketing muscle.
Marketing promotions and campaigns are often packaged into local cable ad sales deals. For Ehrlich, Comcast created an event in connection with a series of on-air spots the dealership had purchased on the local Comcast system.
Here’s how the deal came together.
When Ehrlich approached Comcast about advertising, the cable operator’s sales staff compiled the requisite statistical research from its usual local market sources, such as Scarborough Research and Media Audit, to present a snapshot of a likely new-car customer based on income, interest and area. That allowed Comcast to suggest the best zones in its designated market area for running on-air spots. (Fort Collins is 68 miles north of Denver and is included in the Denver DMA.)
The next step was to develop a local event to drive people to the grand opening of the new dealership. Comcast created the “ESPN Mobile Zone” and set up a host of sports-themed opportunities at the event. While parents test-drove cars or applied for financing, their kids were entertained by basketball shots, hockey shots and batting cages as well as a prize wheel and giveaways for ESPN hats, T-shirts and coolers. The event was promoted not only via cable spots but also in local newspapers and on the dealer’s Web site. These are the sorts of packages that Comcast aims to devise for its Denver clients, said Mason Lewis, director of marketing for Comcast Spotlight.
“We are like a wheel and can bring them all the different elements. The marketing department can step in and bring event marketing, partnerships [and] register-to-win sweepstakes,” he said.
Such opportunities extend across the 45 networks that Comcast sells, he said.
“I have the opportunity to send [an advertiser] to [the ESPN awards show] the ESPYs, or go to see the Nickelodeon studio tour in Los Angeles. If a client is trying to reach Bravo, we can send them to an `Actors Studio’ taping. We customize and create co-marketing programs to help clients meet their needs,” Mr. Lewis said.
The Ehrlich event was beneficial for the car dealer because it generated excitement and provided the dealership with something the competition didn’t have, said Mary Beth McGrath of McGrath Media in Fort Collins, the company’s advertising consultant. “It was bigger than we thought it would be,” she said. “The value is to let people know we have specials here.”