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Media–Legoland Matures Its Approach to Marketing

KUSI Channel 51 Launches 7 p.m. Newscast

Legoland California, which is almost a year old, is stretching its marketing legs. The Carlsbad theme park recently hired a new advertising agency, Los Angeles-based Dailey & Associates.

The park expects to spend about $14 million in marketing this year, said park spokeswoman Jonna Rae Bartges. Legoland marketers plan to change the park’s campaign, from an inaugural “we’re open” feel to a more standard industry approach of emphasizing what makes it different from other parks.

However, the park will still hold a sales ace , it’s the only Legoland in the United States, Bartges said. The park expects 80 percent of the attendees this year to be first-timers.

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Over the past 18 months, when the park’s ad agency was Asher & Associates, also based in L.A., Legoland spent about $15 million on advertising, Bartges said.

Now, Dailey & Associates will be handling both creative and media buys, said Tom Lehr, the agency’s senior vice president.

It’s too early to be talking about what the agency plans to do with Legoland’s creative approach, he said. He did say that the agency planned to balance promotional activity with key messages that define what the park is all about.

Dailey handles clients such as Nestle, which markets heavily to kids, and Vons and Ford, which target families, Bartges said.

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No Merger Effects, Yet: According to a spokesman for the local division of Time Warner Cable, local effects of the Connecticut-based company’s merger with America Online are not yet certain.

“It’s really too soon to tell what the impact will be,” said spokesman Dan Ballister.

At the time of the merger, announced Jan. 10, a company statement noted no initial impact on local business operations was anticipated.

Broadcast News: KUSI Channel 51 launched its 7 p.m. newscast Feb. 1, scoring a 5.4 rating and a 9 share the first night.

The show is anchored by Alan Frio and Susan Lennon, who have been anchoring KUSI’s 10 p.m. newscast together since last month. Frio was most recently with UPN affiliate KCOP in Los Angeles, and Lennon comes from NBC’s Houston affiliate KPRC, said assistant news director Gregg Rawdin.

There have been many new faces on-air, and Rawdin said that the hiring push continues. “New faces will be popping up,” he said.

On KSWB Channel 5/69’s 10 p.m. newscast, weekday anchor Dave Carlin was recently switched with weekend anchor Jeff Powers.

News director Geoff Roth, who joined the fledgling news station late last year, said he made the decision after evaluating the program. During the week, Carlin will be the newscast’s lead reporter, Roth said.

Powers had been anchoring weekends solo, but with the position swap, station reporter Staci Ortiz began co-anchoring the slot with Carlin.

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News Sites: Starting Feb. 7, a series of stories and commentaries focusing on criminal justice and prison reform, is being broadcast through a recently launched Mexico and border news Web site based in La Mesa.

The series, titled “What’s Really Goin’ On,” is being written by Isaac Cubillos, managing editor of HispanicVista.com.

Cubillos is himself an ex-convictand has said he plans to give readers a glimpse of the criminal justice system that couldn’t have been reported without his first-hand experiences.

The site, called MexicoVista.com, was launched Jan. 24, and is available through the HispanicVista.com site.

Drive-By Buzz: Last month, 760 KFMB-AM launched a new afternoon drive-time show with local personalities Steve Kelley and Frank King. Kelley is known for his work as the editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and King is a locally-based comedian.

As for KFMB’s previous afternoon programming, Hank Bauer’s sports show was dropped. According to reports, the change was prompted by broadcasting rights to San Diego Padres games, starting with the 2000 season, moving to KOGO-AM 600.

Speaking of the friar fray, KOGO owner Clear Channel Communications has handed game-day responsibilities to staff at some of the 10 other stations it owns or runs in San Diego.

Ben Higgins and Craig Elsten, of Clear Channel AM station XTRA Sports 690, were recently named hosts of the pre- and post-game shows for the KOGO Padres game broadcasts.

Longtime announcers Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner will continue to call the play-by-play. Leitner remains on contract with KFMB-AM owner Midwest Television. As of Jan. 3, the station’s management moved Leitner’s 1 p.m. talk show to the morning slot.

Bob Chandler will continue as the third play-by-play announcer, former Padres pitcher Randy Jones and XTRA’s John Kentera will host “Padre Talk,” and 101 KGB-FM’s program director Todd Little will oversee the broadcasts as executive producer.

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Status Chart, Marketing: Vitrorobertson will handle creative development for Baskin-Robbins. The Downtown-based agency’s work for Togo’s Eateries led to the deal with the Glendale-headquartered ice-cream store chain. Downtown-based Gable Group signed locally based Silicon Space, Inc., an E-business professional service firm. Bailey-Gardiner Creative Communications Inc. signed San Diego-based High Technology Solutions, Inc. and WordCruncher Internet Technologies Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City. Locally based ThinkTank Advertising-Broadcast-Design, Inc. was hired by Reel Picture to produce a new logo, sales kit and two print ads for the locally based company.

Primed Audience: According to Jay Harn, owner, publisher and editor of the now eight-paper East County Community Newspapers, Inc. , he bought the Californian in El Cajon late last month , smaller papers are becoming big business.

“A lot of publishers complain that readership is going downhill, but if there’s a Barnes & Noble bookstore in every corner and there’s all these different niche magazines, people are still reading,” Harn said.

“It’s just that we haven’t produced the products that they want to read,” he continued.

Content is key, Harn said. “People don’t necessarily read a community newspaper to know about what’s going on in Europe or something. What they want to know about is what’s going on next door.”

The deadline for the next media & marketing column is Feb. 24. Rodrigues can be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 107 or via E-mail at (trodrigues@sdbj.com).

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