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Showtime Gives Big Push to ‘Folk’

Mar 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

For the fourth season of “Queer as Folk,” Showtime is launching its largest marketing campaign ever for a program in a non-premiere season.
The multimillion-dollar advertising effort for the network’s influential gay-themed drama includes preview screenings in six U.S. cities and an exclusive sponsorship partnership with Motorola.
The screenings have been promoted for weeks in gay and lesbian media outlets and will be hosted by the “Queer” cast, executive producers Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Showtime Chairman Matthew Blank and network Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt.
Showtime’s lesbian-themed drama “The L Word” is the network’s first breakout hit in years. The premiere of “Queer as Folk” is scheduled a week after “The L Word” finale. Mr. Greenblatt said the decision to ramp up promotion of “Queer” was only partly inspired by the other show’s success.
“I made the decision back in July that `Queer as Folk’ needed a campaign that is worthy of the show, which has not happened in the past couple of years,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “Then when `The L Word’ premiered, it reinforced my thinking and maybe we did a little more.”
The screening program was developed by Showtime’s new executive VP of public relations, Richard Licata. At the San Francisco screening April 7, attendees will see “The L Word” finale and the “Queer” premiere back to back.
“Local events can be a very effective tool. Audiences line up for these guys,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “When they come to local markets, I never underestimate the impact of this sort of event.”
The ad campaign includes television, billboard and print media. Showtime is also buying advertising time on other cable networks, including MTV and VH1, to support the show.
Cheeky new taglines have been developed for the show, including “Get folked,” “Damn straight,” “So gay” and “The original comes of age.”