Paul Iaffaldano

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All weather-related analogies aside, Paul Iaffaldano is having a good year. As exec VP-general manager of Landmark Communications' The Weather Channel, he helped secure 20 new advertisers during the TV upfront, boosting ad volume by 12% and gaining cost-per-thousand increases of 12%. That's not bad for a midsize cable operation in 87 million households.

Among the new advertisers are hotel chain Best Western and credit card giant Visa USA, both of which bought the "in-program" logo during the travel forecast. Mr. Iaffaldano also helped capture business from Nissan North America's Infiniti and Curel lotion, a brand from Kao Corp.'s Andrew Jergens Co.

Mr. Iaffaldano credits the additions to an initiative aimed at reducing clutter. Earlier this year, The Weather Channel slashed the number of commercials in each pod from the industry standard of around eight to four. While not everyone bought the impact of reduced commercial spots, a number of agencies liked the idea that consumers were more likely to recall the ads they saw.

While attracting new customers is an important part of his job, he's also sold his existing client base on such things as "copy splits," or the channel's ability to broadcast two separate geographically targeted ads. Mr. Iaffaldano gives an example: "If you're [theme park] Six Flags and it's rainy out, you might run a promotion about new rides; if it's sunny, run a promotion to go to Six Flags tomorrow and here is the deal. They can target their ads based on weather conditions."

"We got strong feedback at the upfront ... There were a couple of things driving that-the first was commercial pods, second is groundbreaking copy splits," Mr. Iaffaldano says.

Mr. Iaffaldano has also pushed for what he calls "TiVo-proof" sponsorship deals that keep the advertiser on-screen during programming. Coming up with taglines such as the "grilling forecast," on behalf of advertisers such as Kraft A.1. sauce, are all part of integration mix.

"Paul Iaffaldano has done a tremendous job in fostering an alliance between two industry leaders," says Carol Edwards Holmes, manager of partnership and direct marketing at Scotts Co., of its relationship with the Weather Channel and use of such partnerships to promote its gardening products. "The consumer benefits by receiving ... help in lawncare and gardening coupled with relevant and current weather information."

The network also had its moments in the spotlight this year, both with real hurricane coverage, and becoming part of the 20th Century Fox release "The Day After Tomorrow." The network acted as consultant on the movie, which used its hurricane graphics. Does such exposure help? "Yes, from a consumer perspective, we are recognized as leaders in weather forecasting," Mr. Iaffaldano says.

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