The Hallmark Channel6/20/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Executive vice president/chief marketing officer
Senior vice president, marketing
Back in 2001, when the old Odyssey network was renamed the Hallmark Channel by its new owner, there was doubt that there was room for another family network on cable.
"There wasn't a lot of optimism for our success, especially as a standalone network without resources to leverage," recalls Chris Moseley, Hallmark's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. But no one factored in the network's key marketing strategists: Moseley, President and CEO David Evans, and Senior Vice President Laura Masse.
Today, the network has a foothold in 61 million homes. "We disproved the naysayers," Masse says, with more than a little triumph in her tone. "And I think we keep surprising people."
Hallmark says that, in 2004, it is the fastest-growing cable network in total households year-to-year, according to Nielsen Media Research. Hallmark Channel scored record-high ratings in each of the first six weeks of 2004 and has been a top-10 network in total viewers since December.
Much of the network's ratings success is due to its holiday promotional strategy. During the "Hollywood Holiday Sweepstakes" in late 2003, Hallmark Channel aired 17 holiday-themed movies, achieving a 1.0 or higher rating in prime time. A Valentine's Day promotion, the "Just Desserts Sweetstakes" tied to original movie Just Desserts, scored a 1.5 rating in households. The "Hollywood Holiday Sweepstakes" promotion with Hallmark Gold Crown stores—there are 4,300 of them—got more than 12 million new viewers to sample the network; the sweepstakes received 17 million entries, both from viewers who phoned in and from shoppers who entered the contest in-store.
Each holiday promotion is a unique, cross-platform campaign that supports the network's original programming, and provides affiliates with revenue-driving opportunities. The promotions also offer advertising partners exclusive vertical-sponsorship opportunities through Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide.
Hallmark also launched a marketing initiative with its Sponsorship Solutions Unit, which gives advertisers places to enhance their messages within Hallmark programming.
So far, Claritin, in a movie called The Long Shot, and Kraft Foods, with a remake of The Parent Trap, have been wooed by Hallmark. Those advertisers got exclusive branding opportunities. For example, every time and everywhere The Parent Trap was promoted, Kraft's name was attached—and it got eight minutes of special customized and exclusive advertising within the film.
Moseley, who cut her marketing teeth at Discovery Networks, does a lot at Hallmark with a small staff. But that gives the network the chance to execute promotions without several layers of bureaucracy. "Here, one person does what four people do elsewhere," she says." We may be small, but we're mighty."