Charter rings in ‘new look’ for cable in national Spectrum ad campaign

Screenshot from new Spectrum ad. Image: Spectrum

The newly expanded Charter Communications will re-christen itself as “Spectrum” on the back of a national advertising campaign, featuring a rising sun, bright skies and open fields, signaling what company CMO Jon Hargis says is a "new look at what a cable company can be.”

Voiceover work for TV spots is supplied by actor Ethan Hawke. 

Interviewing Hargis, Ad Age asks, “How do you turn around the image of one of the most detested companies in America -- Time Warner Cable?”

For his part, Hargis doesn’t malign Charter’s expensive acquisition quite as much. 

"People don't know cable companies outside of their areas," 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.”

While ending TWC markets, Charter is seeking to emphasize customer service improvements, simplified pricing models, lack of contract requirements and a greater number of HD channels. 

The transition won’t be easy. 

Less than a month after rebranding its legacy Time Warner Cable customers in the Los Angeles area under the Spectrum moniker, Charter Communications already finds itself facing some backlash in the region. 

Last week, On Tuesday, Los Angeles Times consumer watchdog David Lazarus published a column ominously headlined, “Attention former Time Warner customers: Get ready for your cable bill to go up.” 

Lazarus led his column with the story of a 74-year-old Culver City resident who mistakenly attributed a $22 increase for his triple-play service to a price gouge — his 12-month promotional deal had coincidentally expired at the same time his service was being rebranded under the Spectrum name.

The writer noted that his own TWC internet and phone service is set to nearly double to $120 in December when his promotional period ends. Lazarus said his best alternative from Charter is to switch to an $85 Spectrum double-play package, “a more than 30 percent increase over my current rate.” 

Of course, the end of promotional periods would have heralded a price increase for both customers, regardless as to whether Charter took over TWC. Charter has laid down a pricing model that is a bit simpler than TWC’s and definitely less focused on promotions. Indeed, comparing a model that leaned heavy on price promotions with a Spectrum strategy that doesn’t have contracts or a lot of promotions is complex. And it’s tough to numerically show that Charter has rolled into Southern California and jacked up everyone’s cable bill. 

For more:
- read this Ad Age story

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