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The ABCs of Putting Celebrities on the Soap Box

August 10, 2008 9:00 PM

ABC Daytime Campaign

Like the late entrepreneur Victor Kiam, who told TV commercial watchers in the ’80s that he liked Remington shavers so much he bought the company, Vincent Pastore liked “General Hospital” so much after taping a promo spot for the ABC Daytime drama that he wanted to join the cast&mdash:at least temporarily.

That was an offer ABC couldn’t refuse.

So Mr. Pastore will begin taping a one-week stint in September, playing the visiting father of mob man Max (Derk Cheetwood), a role that’s not much of a stretch given that Mr. Pastore’s mobbed-up “Sopranos” character, Big Pussy, was dispatched to sleep with the fishes after he turned government informant.

No other such guest stints have been reported with the remaining eight unlikely celebs who star in the promo campaign&mdash:ABC Daytime’s biggest in at least six years—which began rolling out last week on ABC and SoapNet and continues into September.

The spots—available for viewing below—are real attention-getters, whether it’s Mr. Pastore delivering talking points on family, loyalty, honor and vengeance or tattooed freestyle motocross “godfather” Mike Metzger talking about the high he gets from the action on “One Life to Live, “All My Children” and “GH.”

Adam Rockmore, senior VP of marketing for ABC Daytime and SoapNet, savors the real-life resonance with Mel B., who does two spots, and another promo star, Elizabeth Berkley, both of whom have had soap operatic lives. He believes the spots featuring champion freestyle skier Kristi Leskinen and pro snowboarder Jamie Anderson will pop with young viewers. And he knows from his two years in Nashville, where he was VP of marketing and public relations for Scripps Networks’ Food Network, that women will swoon when they see the spot with country music heartthrob Billy Currington.

Also appearing in spots will be designer Randolph Duke and “Monk’s” Jason Gray-Stanford. Mr. Rockmore will be happy if the campaign brings in some new young viewers available for sampling during their summer breaks, convinces regular viewers to watch more often or brings back lapsed viewers. “This is a way to stay cool with them, to give them water-cooler conversation,” Mr. Rockmore said.

Michele Greppi

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