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Billboards to Raise Hell

September 16, 2007 4:22 PM

To promote its devilish fall series “Reaper,” The CW on Wednesday unveils smoking billboards in New York City and Los Angeles. Rick Haskins, the network’s VP of marketing and brand strategy, had the idea after seeing the show’s artwork, which has a trio of “Reaper” characters set amid a fiery, scorched background. “There’s so many different billboards, we were trying to find a way to set ourselves apart in a way that’s organic to the show,” Mr. Haskins said. The only worry: That Cartoon Network marketing debacle earlier this year, where Boston residents mistook promotional light boxes for bombs. What if motorists passing the “Reaper” billboard assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and call 911? “We’re very concerned about that, but if you look at actual visuals of the painted smoke and fire [on the billboard], I think people will get the gag,” he said. The billboards, which will spew a nontoxic substance that’s similar to smoke from nightclub fog machines, will raise hell for about a week.
—James Hibberd

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