A promotional KISS for ‘That ’70s Show’

May 6, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Last week’s hit retrospective of perennial Fox favorite “That ’70’s Show” could be fitting for distributor Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, which is reverting to the “tried and true” as the studio prepares to launch the series into syndication.
CWM will unveil this month the first step of a three-phase campaign that penetrates into the “heart and soul of what the ’70s were all about-sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” said Dan Weiss, senior VP of marketing and creative service at CWM. The coup d’etat for the campaign was snagging legendary rock band KISS for the promos. Some of that footage could land the cast in the band’s new music video.
“We were out from the beginning to get a rock ‘n’ roll band from the ’70s as part of this campaign,” Mr. Weiss said. “We were ecstatic to get KISS for a series of promos that show each of the cast members trying to sneak into this dream concert in 1977. What’s so wonderful about KISS is that with their makeup, you can’t tell they’ve aged a day.”
Shot over two days, the promo series will feature concert scenarios with each of the cast members falling prey to backstage bikers, groupies and so forth. Company executives are hoping the footage results in a music video designed for cable play as KISS prepares to release a new album and start a tour with Aerosmith.
“We wanted to find a way to grab the viewers’ attention, make them think of the time and put a smile on their face,” said Mr. Weiss, who will add billboard and tie-in promotions to the mix, among other presentations. The KISS promos will air in August.
Phase 1 airs during May sweeps. The spot spoofs the classic anti-drug campaign that featured an egg in a frying pan; in the spoof, the egg yolk has the smiley-face icon of the times. Phase 2 will begin in June and is titled “They’re Coming.” It takes on a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” essence as creatures walk to the camera out of the mists, only to spoof some of the sci-fi hits of the period.
Despite the loyalty fans have shown to the series, Mr. Weiss said the campaign had to be done “in an old-fashioned format,” given the increasing level of competition on the airwaves.
“It gets more and more difficult to compete with all the returning shows, not to mention the new ones,” he said. “But we believe there’s a huge untapped audience out there that just has never gotten around to watching `That ’70s Show’ because Tuesday is a tough night of TV, with `Buffy’ and `Gilmore Girls’ on at the same time. We felt it necessary to help our stations, who have fewer resources than the networks, and provide them with a fun, smart turnkey promotion that’s going to get noticed.”