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Cablevision’s Marketing FAIL: New Ads Feature Michael Bolton? Is Danny Bonaduce Next?

Phillip Dampier March 5, 2013 Cablevision, Competition, Editorial & Site News, Verizon, Video 2 Comments
Cablevision's yesteryear marketing: As outdated as this Harvest Gold Trimline phone.

Cablevision’s yesteryear marketing: As outdated as this Harvest Gold Trimline phone.

Cablevision’s bizarre new ads for its Optimum triple-play package (the one that puts broadband, arguably its most important component, dead last) have reached a new low in the latest series featuring… Michael Bolton?

Bolton is a practical unknown to the most important demographic group not buying cable: recent graduate twenty-somethings that were 12 when one of his songs last plagued top-40 radio. Cablevision’s misfire could only be outdone if Nike hired Dick Van Dyke to pitch their shoes.

This is the best Cablevision can manage after Sandy blew away 11,000 of their customers (potentially for good) and rate increases took another 28,000 households with them (mostly to the benefit of Verizon FiOS)? Was the runner-up Joyce DeWitt from Three’s Company pitching a three-pack of phone, television, and (oh yes) Internet service?

Cablevision’s marketing efforts are now partly overseen by the CEO’s wife, who ‘somehow’ landed the prominent role of rebranding Cablevision/Optimum. Perhaps her best talents lie elsewhere.

Verizon featured Michael Bay blowing things up in FiOS ads five years ago that were more trendy than Cablevision was this week.

The point of the ad? Michael Bolton keeps getting annoyed with masses of would-be Cablevision customers calling in to sign up for cable service on a toll-free number that is just one digit away from Michael Bolton’s toll-free number (?) Yes, that is Bolton talking on a (shudder) landline (at least he has a cordless phone). Does anyone under 30 even know what a “toll-free” call is?

For those of us who remember what a dial tone sounds like and can still recognize a Trimline rotary phone, the ad still does not make sense. I am perplexed why Michael Bolton has a toll-free number. I guess when Tonya Harding’s name recognition rivals Michael Bolton’s, the fact he has a toll-free number gives him the edge.

A minute later, I am left wondering why I care. I am not certainly not wondering why I haven’t picked up the phone to order Cablevision service.

When it comes to branding and image, here is what Cablevision just accomplished:

  • Verizon FiOS circa 2008 = Michael Bay blowing cool stuff up.
  • Cablevision this week = Michael Bolton.

‘Nuff said.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Cablevision Ads Michael Bolton.flv

AD FAIL: What were they thinking? Michael Bolton annoys viewers trying to recollect his career while Cablevision tries to make New York, New Jersey and Connecticut remember why they should care.  (1 minute)

Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Alex Perrier says:

    The ads don’t encourage me to buy Cablevision bundles. Price is lukewarm to cold (should be the regular price, not just one year), basic Internet is so-so (though some companies offer worse than 15/2) and Michael Bolton’s musical popularity faded after the mid-90s. During that time, people were stuck on dial-up! is that the kind of image Cablevision wants to spread?

    Speaking of that era, a better ad representing it would be “Child of the 90s” for Internet Explorer (http://youtu.be/qkM6RJf15cg). The IE ad confesses: “You grew up. So did we.” The Cablevision ad makes no such confession. Does that mean they use outdated technology?

    Cablevision does list three speeds: basic at 15/2, Boost Plus at 50/8, and Ultra at 101/15. Okay, so that’s pretty fast, but the Bolton ads don’t help communicate that. Also, they don’t mention usage limits, so are they buried in fine print or completely inexistent?

    Overall, i agree with you, Phil. The ads don’t help and will only possibly appeal to an older demographic who may have liked Michael Bolton. Also, is Optimum basically a flanker brand for Cablevision? Like Canada’s cell phone companies, this seems like an attempt to fool disappointed Cablevision customers into thinking that Optimum is a new, different company. Here in Canada, Optimum is a great loyalty program from Shoppers, sans cheesy ads!

  2. siouxmoux says:

    Anything Michael Bolton = FAIL

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