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Nickelodeon Phones Home for 'Diego' Promo

August 22, 2005 12:00 AM

In a first, Nickelodeon is using a branded phone card as part of a big marketing blitz behind its first prime-time preschool premiere this year, "Go Diego Go," which premieres Sept. 16. The phone card promotion demonstrates the network's need to find "unusual and unique" ways to reach the audience, said Karen Driscoll, VP of brand marketing for Nickelodeon. On Aug. 23 the network plans to begin distributing in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley about 25,000 phone cards geared to Hispanics. When Mom or Dad uses the card, Ms. Driscoll said, a tune-in message for the show's premiere will be heard. "It was a way to deepen the connection with the Hispanic audience," she said. The show is a spinoff from Nickelodeon's preschool hit "Dora the Explorer" and stars the bilingual animal adventurer Diego. Nickelodeon will also market the show on radio in the top five Hispanic markets. There will also be ads in Hispanic publications; a poster featuring Diego along with animal and rainforest facts to be distributed at zoos, aquariums and schools; and a sneak peek on broadband, video-on-demand and Verizon's V Cast service. -DAISY WHITNEY

The Real Deal

When an investigation heats up on Court TV's new show "Parco, P.I.," real-life detective Vinnie Parco and his family will be reaching for Coca-Cola's Dasani brand water and other Coke products to cool off. Under the seven-figure product placement deal, Coke products will appear in all 12 episodes of "Parco, P.I." Dasani will also be a sponsor of "Vinnie Picks Week," a stunt leading up to the "Parco" episode in which Mr. Parco will introduce his favorite episodes of other Court TV shows. Dasani and another sponsor, ConAgra's Homestyle Bakes meals, will also be featured in tune-in ads on TV and online and in print, vignettes and a sweepstakes. "Parco, P.I." is the first show to debut under Court TV's "Seriously Entertaining" banner. "We've had product placement before, but this is more significant because it's in a new tentpole show for us," said Susan Malfa, Court TV's senior VP of ad sales. Mr. Parco won't use a bottle to bring down a suspect. But Ms. Malfa said he will enjoy Dasani at his desk or over a meal with his family. -JON LAFAYETTE

Execs on Move

It must be tough to be a cable ad sales executive at broadcast-dominated NBC Universal. Mike Tedone, NBC Universal Cable's top ad sales executive during part of this year's upfront, has departed to join his old NBCU boss Jeff Lucas at Viacom's Comedy Central. Like Mr. Lucas, Mr. Tedone left NBC to work at Universal Television, only to wind up back at Rockefeller Center when NBC acquired Universal last year. After Mr. Lucas left, NBCU named former station group sales executive Mark Miller, rather than someone with a strong cable background, to the top job at NBC Universal Cable Entertainment Sales. Meanwhile, Hannah Gryncwajg, who left as head of ad sales at Bravo in April after NBCU consolidated its cable ad sales operations, has rejoined Rainbow Media as a senior VP in its ad sales team under Arlene Manos. -JON LAFAYETTE