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Profile: Greg Fischer

Feb 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

During the recent Fashion Week in New York, there was a simultaneous event bigger than any designer’s show-and the models were four-legged.
Even those who can’t stand dogs could not avoid the Westminster Kennel Club’s Champions Only Dog Show, and that’s largely thanks to a startlingly creative media plan on behalf of USA Network, which broadcast the show.
It was the work of Greg Fischer, senior media strategist, and his team at The Media Kitchen in New York. This was the 20th time the network covered the show, but this year the pre-show publicity and awareness were entirely on another level.
Using Simmons data backed up by focus groups, the resulting campaign relied on an innovative use of disparate television channels, chasing a cross between dog lovers and event seekers, Mr. Fischer and his team came up with a plan that had even laymen puzzling why the show was such a “big deal” this year.
“It’s a one-off event, but we needed more than dog fanatics,” Mr. Fischer said. “We wanted event lovers, curiosity seekers. We wanted to create a real sense of excitement.”
Television was used as the “tune-in” medium. But the plan was spread across an obvious channel, Animal Planet, and the less so: Living, TNT and the Food Network, which Mr. Fischer said has a great dog-lover demographic. The plan also targeted network breakfast television, with a simultaneous PR campaign making sure dogs got editorial time on “Today” and “Good Morning America.”
Backing up this national television initiative was an inventive print ad guerrilla marketing campaign targeting New York consumers and the USA Network’s advertising community. An insert in the New York Times Magazine that also ran in advertising industry trade publications such as Advertising Age featured pull-off sticker dogs that people could keep near their screens when watching the show and use for reference. All creative was done in-house at USA Network.
The Media Kitchen also took dogs onto the streets of New York at ad agencies and dog parks with tune-in messages on their jackets and handed out free hot chocolate outside the breakfast show studios.
“It was great to generate such an extraordinary amount of buzz.”
And the ratings? This year’s show generated record ratings. Viewership peaked at a 4.6 rating (5.3 million viewers) on the second night of the two-night contest at Madison Square Garden. That’s 17 percent up from last year’s record. The show gave USA Network the highest-rated program on basic cable that night too.