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CNN Piles On the Platforms

Nov 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

CNN has sold Chrysler a multimillion-dollar ad package that includes its broadest array yet of media platforms.

The exclusive sponsorship deal, which is for ads in and leading up to CNN’s one-hour special about Time magazine’s annual Person of the Year feature, includes TV and print, interstitial programming and all the latest bells and whistles: broadband video, interactive TV, video-on-demand, wireless and podcasts.

But Chrysler believes the elements are more than just bells and whistles. “They’re all-important communications tools,” said Suraya Dasante, public relations manager for marketing communications for the automaker.

Greg D’Alba, chief operating officer for CNN, said that about 80 percent of CNN’s revenues come from deals that integrate television and the Web and that its digital revenue has quadrupled compared with a year ago. “It’s no longer an experimental model, it’s a business plan,” he said.

The campaign launches today and leads up to Dec. 18, when CNN will present a one-hour documentary on Time’s 2005 Person of the Year, sponsored by Chrysler. Leading up to the special, CNN will air Chrysler spots and tagged tune-in promos for the special. The network will also air two interstitials each week profiling candidates for the honor. This year the roster includes President Bush, Lance Armstrong, Pope Benedict XVI, J.K. Rowling and Mother Nature. The interstitials will conclude with billboards for Chrysler that direct viewers to CNN.com and Time.com.

Chrysler will also be the sole sponsor of the CNN interactive broadcast of “Person of the Year.” Users who register on CNN.com can download a program that synchronizes their computers to the broadcast, making additional information about the candidates available and allowing users to answer trivia questions, make comments and participate in polls and request information about Chrysler vehicles.

Weekly podcasts will be available on CNN.com and iTunes. The podcasts will start with a billboard and end with a 30-second tribute to Walter Chrysler, a past Man of the Year.

Wireless users can vote for candidates and will receive thank-you messages from CNN and an invitation to register their e-mail addresses with Chrysler.

Chrysler will have ads in broadband content available on the Web and in the interstitials and the special when they become available via VOD.

“We want to continue to push the envelope on how to reach consumers. We want to deliver our messages in a way the consumer wants,” Ms. Dasante said. She declined to say exactly how much Chrysler was spending on the sponsorship or how much of the spending was on TV versus digital media. “What you spend is important, but what is your return? Did you get what you needed to get to justify that expense?” she said. Digital media are more measurable, she said, and “the more measurable a medium is, the easier it is to determine ROI.”

Mr. D’Alba said that with its content and multiple platforms CNN is in a good position to deliver multidimensional campaigns.

“You can’t decide you’re going to be in the integration business tomorrow because that’s what the consumers are demanding,” he said, noting that CNN prepared last year by setting up a strategic integration group and now has a rich combination of content and distribution platforms. “It’s certainly is what consumers are demanding and what advertisers are trying to create.”