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Creating a cable TV network based on cartoons was not all fun and games for Cartoon Network executives.

The TV dial was already bristling with competition, but Betty Cohen, 42, had plenty of tricks up her sleeve. Since her arrival at Turner Broadcasting in 1992, she has built unstoppable momentum by creating a marketing-driven atmosphere resulting in a string of successes.

"Everything the network does has to be about marketing, right down to choosing programming that translates well into marketing campaigns," Ms. Cohen says.

A promotion for the "Dexter's Laboratory" original animated series last year generated 35 million phone calls over eight weeks, despite the toll-free number flashing only once a day. Other on-air promotions surrounded hot series such as "Cow and Chicken," "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "Scooby Doo."

Promotional tie-ins with Kraft Foods, Discovery Zone and Six Flags theme parks also helped increase Cartoon Network's reach.

Its total on-air promotional budget exceeded $53 million last year, while distribution surged from 38 million homes in '97 to 54 million homes last year.

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