Sep 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Campaign takes aim at fitness

Special to TelevisionWeek

Charter’s Get Hooked on Health St. Louis is a new initiative spearheaded by Charter Advertising Saint Louis, geared to stimulate a neglected market and perhaps improve the health of a city.

“Health and fitness has never been a category that has been television-friendly, and certainly not cable-friendly,” said Paul Sly, VP of advertising sales for CASL, the local ad sales division of St. Louis-based Charter Cable.

The multilayered campaign kicked off March 29 and has drawn support from community leaders, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis Cardinal great Ozzie Smith, in addition to Charter Communications’ operations, marketing and ad sales divisions.

Charter created the campaign in response to the city’s poor health-and-fitness rating in a number of national publications. The November 2003 issue of Self magazine ranked St. Louis the unhealthiest city in the U.S., while Men’s Fitness ranked it the fifth-fattest city.

“St. Louis has many tremendous health resources, but the message hasn’t gotten out,” Mr. Sly said. “Charter hopes this campaign can help change that as well as help our citizens become healthier.”

A Web site, Gethookedonhealth.com, provides information about the campaign and about health and fitness resources. Centering the campaign is “Get Hooked on Health St. Louis,” which airs on Charter’s CCIN network, a local origination channel, at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. McGraw Milhaven hosts the show, which covers a wide range of health and exercise topics.

“If we were to pitch a hospital on advertising we wouldn’t get very far, but to tell them about the opportunities to promote their diabetes program or other research on our show has been a real ice-breaker for us,” Mr. Sly said.

CASL clients can promote their health and fitness programs, specialists and screenings by buying individual sponsorships on the television show, space at the Expo or a package including both.