CBS Corp. tipped the future of advertising Monday with an estimated $25 million sale of space and time to Pennzoil Products that cuts across five Eye divisions and all of its media outlets.
Despite its modest size, the deal breaks major ground by pulling together the CBS Television Network, CBS Cable’s TNN, CBS-owned radio stations, CBS-owned television stations and CBS’ outdoor display advertising unit.
As such, it is certain to be the envy of global players like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. as well as a legion of radio consolidators that are already playing an aggressive game of catch-up.
Clyde Beahm, Pennzoil’s group VP of marketing, heralded the multimedia package as “a new way of doing business.”
In addition to one-stop shopping, Pennzoil acknowledged it was attracted by the possibilities of an “integrated campaign” that used billboards, radio time and TV commercials to drive home the same sales message to the same target audience.
Pennzoil’s agency, Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, plans to break the campaign early next year.
The agency’s charter will be to present a sales message on, say, drive-time radio, reinforce it with a TV commercial on CBS programming that night, then remind consumers the next morning with billboards in heavily trafficked areas.
The package will also provide Pennzoil with key event sponsorships, including a half-time segment during regular season NCAA basketball game on the CBS network, as well as a strong TV presence at the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck races.
In addition, the client will be seen sponsoring the same NASCAR Winston Cup on TNN and will appear on 36,000 pages of TNN’s 46,000-page http://www.country.com Web site.
The concept has been around so long that Lloyd Werner, executive VP of CBS Cable, tried trademarking it a decade ago as “seamless communications.”
More recently, radio consolidators such as Clear Channel Communications and Chancellor Media Corp., which last month announced a $1.5 billion merger with LIN Television Corp., have been adding TV stations and outdoor companies to their multimedia mix.
While their goal has been to realize the precise cross-marketing opportunity announced by CBS, Werner admits that not even the Eye could pull it off until this year.
“We only recently got TNN, and we just closed on the American Radio System,” he said. “The final piece was NFL football, which doesn’t begin until the fall.”
CBS appears to be in as strong a position as anyone to silence critics of cross-marketing. Critics’ complaint has been with media companies that essentially embraced the concept to, in the words of one analyst, “make advertisers buy their bad stuff to get some of their good stuff.”
The range and quality of properties CBS brings to its Pennzoil partnership may well render such complaints obsolete.
Werner expects the combination of football and country music, in particular, to work wonders for its first major cross-selling client. “It probably has something to do with the fact that fans of both like to work on their cars,” he said.
More meaningful for CBS’ future is that its Pennzoil negotiations, which stretched over six months, forced the media powerhouse to get its so-called “cross-selling infrastructure” in place.
“Now that all the divisions are meeting on a regular basis for Pennzoil,” Werner said, “each division is bringing other advertisers to the table.”
In fact, Werner said he expected to announce “two or three similar deals in the next six or eight months.”