As Time Warner Cable's Name Disappears, Charter CMO Promises It's a 'New Day' for Pay TV

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How do you turn around the image of one of the most detested companies in America -- Time Warner Cable? Ask Jon Hargis, chief marketing officer at Charter Communications, which closed on its acquisition of Time Warner Cable in May.

As Charter begins to roll out Spectrum, the name it is using for the combination of Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, Mr. Hargis must convince consumers that the entity will represent a "new day" for cable TV. And that will take more than erasing the Time Warner Cable name. There's a need for cable operators to re-imagine how they do business as more consumers chose pared-down TV packages or cut the cord altogether.

In its spots, Charter plays upon images of a rising sun, bright skies and open fields to convey the birth of the Spectrum brand, accompanied by voiceovers by Ethan Hawke.

Spectrum is differentiating itself from the maligned Time Warner Cable brand by stressing customer service that resolves problems the first time, reasonable rates, no contracts and HD channels in its most basic packages, Mr. Hargis said.

He also emphasized Charter's investment in new employees. The company has added 7,000 new jobs in recent years, with plans to add another 20,000 over the coming years.

While the campaign is designed to introduce current Charter and Time Warner Cable subscribers to the Spectrum brand, it's also meant to get non-subscribers to take a "new look at what a cable company can be," Mr. Hargis said, describing Charter as an "aggressive acquisition marketer."

To this end, Charter is targeting current telco and satellite TV subscribers, antenna users and people who subscribe to so-called over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu.

As Charter re-brands its acquisition, however, there's concern that the rebrand will result in some subscribers having to pay more money. Mr. Hargis said that's not the case.

Spectrum is offering fewer packages, but Mr. Hargis said what's included is simple to understand and offers a greater value to consumers. And former Time Warner Cable subscribers won't be forced to switch to a Spectrum package. While they will see the logo change on their bill, they can opt to retain their current package, he said.

The campaign builds on Charter's introduction of the name Charter Spectrum two years ago. "People don't know cable companies outside of their areas," Mr. Hargis said. "We thought we needed to make a change anyway, so with the acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House we went all the way to Spectrum."

Charter worked with Saatchi & Saatchi New York on the creative, along with Leijas for out-of-home, print and digital, and We Believers and Castells for its Hispanic-targeted creative.

The campaign will also include radio, digital, print and a heavy outdoor marketing presence.

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