In Depth

Fox 'Fringe' Marketing Starts ... Now!

Fox is so high on its new J.J. Abrams-produced drama "Fringe," it's planning to begin the marketing push for the show early. Real early. As in today.

In what may be an unprecedented move, Fox will begin the marketing campaign for a new fall series on the same day it's officially announced. The effort—being spearheaded by Fox marketing chief Joe Earley--will take the form of several major stunts and media buys focused on the New York market.

What's unusual is that Fox is putting so much paid media behind a show that won't debut for several months. In that respect, the effort resembles a film campaign. In addition, with some networks downplaying the importance of the upfront advertising market this year, Fox's move seems to be a signal that the network still believes this week can serve as a launching pad for shows it believes in.

The most outrageous part of the campaign will see Fox importing two dozen cows to heavy traffic locations in Manhattan. The bovine billboards will be accompanied by street teams handing out all sorts of "Fringe"-themed merchandise, from T-shirts to apples.

Other street teams will ride around town on Segway scooters or moving on foot. All told, Fox will hand out more than 5,000 "Fringe" items around the city.

The network is also investing in paid media for "Fringe." Fox has bought a full-page ad to run on the back cover of Thursday's New York Times Arts section and a 1⁄2 page ad in the New York Post.

Fox has also printed special editions of the Post wrapped with four-page "Fringe" ads. Street teams will hand out the special copies of the newspaper at commuter hot spots such as Grand Central Station.

The network will also be advertising heavily on a jumbo screen in Times Square, as well as more than 40 digital billboards attached to subway entrances.

And once the sun sets, random video projectors set up around New York City will beam "Fringe" ads on the sides of buildings and other public space.

It's not unheard of for networks to begin promoting new fall shows in May. Many networks now commonly air teaser promos during the May season finales of their existing shows.

(Editor: Baumann)