‘Malcolm’ in Middle of Clear Channel Deal

Nov 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

To boost this season’s launch of “Malcolm in the Middle” into off-network syndication, Twentieth Television is putting together a $15.5 million marketing deal with Clear Channel Entertainment and XM Satellite Radio.

It’s part of an overall marketing effort for the show that will generate what Twentieth expects to be about 300 million advertising impressions. “It’s the largest, most expansive marketing we have done,” said Susan Kantor, senior VP of marketing for Twentieth Television.

No money changed hands in the Clear Channel-XM Satellite deal. But Ms. Kantor said the deal will generate $15.5 million in media value.

The promotion is centered around a song, “Malcolm in the Middle With You,” that will be used to tout the sitcom on TV stations and Clear Channel radio airwaves, in concert venues and on satellite radio beginning this month. The song, performed by a band called Clear Static, is a new version of the Stealers Wheel 1973 hit “Stuck in the Middle With You” featuring new lyrics written from Malcolm’s point of view.

A two-minute music video has been produced featuring the song and animation mixed with clips from the sitcom. It is designed for exhibition in movie theaters, while shorter versions will be aired by TV stations to promote the series.

Sweepstakes Element

The promotion is tied into a watch-and-win sweepstakes. Consumers can win an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend a Clear Static concert and meet cast members from the show. Other winners will receive XM Satellite Radio receivers and a one-year subscription to the service. Viewers need to watch the show, pick up clues and then register online.

TV stations carrying “Malcolm” that are running the videos also have put together partnership deals with radio stations to hype the event. KTTV in Los Angeles put together four radio station partnerships. In a number of markets, Ms. Kantor said, some TV stations are selling local advertising sponsorship deals in the sweepstakes.

Clear Static will perform the song at scheduled concerts promoted by Clear Channel Entertainment in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Clear Channel radio stations will air the sweepstakes radio commercials.

The band’s name might suggest some sort of relation to Clear Channel, but there is no connection. The Sacramento, Calif.-based band was recruited by Clear Channel’s music development division, which arranged a battle of the bands contest to determine the band that would record the “Malcolm” song.

Clear Static will also perform live on XM Satellite Radio, which also will program 60-second versions of the song on its news/talk stations.

The sweepstakes will be promoted on in-lobby monitors at 500 Regal Cinemas locations. The video also will appear on theater screens during Regal’s 20-minute pre-feature presentation show called “The Twenty.”