Chrysler exec to cable: Drive us to next level

Marketing chief stresses importance of partnership

NEW ORLEANS -- Chrysler marketing chief Deborah Wahl Meyer stressed the importance of working in partnership with the cable industry to generate innovative ways of targeting consumers during her keynote speech Tuesday, the final day of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s 2008 Cable Show.

"We want you to push us to the next level as much as we need to be pushing ourselves," she said. "It's not just about buying share time but working together to test, learn and adapt."

She said Chrysler is increasingly turning to "narrow casting" to target specific audiences, which is where the cable industry can do the most good for advertisers.

"The customers are ready and waiting for you to develop the capability of addressable advertising," she said, pointing out she sees fragmentation as an opportunity to be faster, more flexible and creative with ads in today's world.

In a panel after her keynote, Meyer said that many more of Chrysler's marketing dollars are being funneled into the Internet these days, though the majority is still targeted for TV, even if the "percentage overall is coming down dramatically."

The panel, moderated by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.'s Craig Moffett, also discussed the impact of the DVR and its commercial-skipping capability.

Fox Networks Group's Tony Vinciquerra said he doesn't see DVR as a "horrible thing," pointing out that only 23% of U.S. households have DVRs and not all of those viewers actually skip commercials, including "older and more traditional" households. He also believes that some people will always prefer watching shows as they air, wanting "their schedule set by the TV" instead of the other way around.

The panel also included Cox Communications' Pat Esser, Cablevision System's Tom Rutledge and Naked Communications' Paul Woomington.