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Bravo Has a Full Schedule for Summer

Jun 6, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Bravo’s marketing department is going to be very busy this summer, with the network launching or airing season premieres of nine series in 12 weeks, its first branded programming block and a new look for its on-air promotions.

The network’s “Tuesday Night Reality Check” kicks off this week with the season premieres of “Blow Out” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which leads the new season with a makeover of five members of the World Champion Boston Red Sox baseball team.

The pairing of the two shows fits in with the Bravo strategy of using like-minded programs to promote one another and attract like-minded viewers, said Jason Klarman, senior VP of marketing for Bravo.

The strategy is underscored with new promo spots that use the stars from one show to promote another. For example, “Queer Eye’s” Fab Five talk about Jonathan Antin of “Blow Out” in one spot.

Bravo is also looking for new ways to use its current shows to get viewers to sample clips of upcoming shows.

That strategy has already worked. For the June 1 launch of “Sports Kids Moms and Dads,” Bravo urged viewers of the final episode of “Show Dog Moms and Dads” to go to the Bravo Web site to preview the new show, and 100,000 people watched the streaming video. “People were already into the show before it launched,” Mr. Klarman said.

“Sports Kids” is also being promoted with Bravo’s first online webisodes, which are being sponsored by General Motors.

“We’re using the weight and size of our premieres and our finales to launch and derive awareness of our new shows, so the premiere of ‘Sports Kids’ has the ‘Being Bobby Brown’ trailer in it,” he said. “We believe strongly in the content of the shows and believe that the more people who see them, the more people who’ll watch.”

Bravo is taking advantage of cellphones, podcasting and other technologies to let potential viewers sample its shows.

“All this alternative media is a great opportunity to both drive sampling and awareness at the same time,” Mr. Klarman said.

Bravo’s first podcast is for the “Queer Eye” premiere. The podcast features Carson Kressley talking about the Red Sox episode, giving “hip tips” on fashion and using hair products. The Fab Five’s playlist will appear for downloading on Itunes and there will be Internet marketing on sites, including Daily Candy, Yahoo!, AOL and TVguide.com.

June 7 has been designated “Queer Eye Day in Boston,” and the cast will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park.

“Queer Eye” will also be promoted during gay pride festivals in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. In New York, the Fab Five will hand out “Honk if you’re queer” bumper stickers.

Other promotions for the “Tuesday Night Reality Check,” which uses the theme “Their Drama. Our Reality,” include a watch-and-win radio contest airing in 15 markets. The top prize is a $1,000 “reality check.” The launch, the network’s second-biggest following the launch of its “Watch What Happens” branding earlier this year, includes newspapers in the top 20 markets and ads in magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Us and TV Guide.

A TV buy includes spots in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, plus national spots on DirecTV and DISH Network and in the syndicated talkers “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Bravo is also planning a big launch for “Being Bobby Brown,” which premiers June 30. “It’s going to be about being a husband, being a dad, being famous and being bad,” Mr. Klarman said. That campaign is being shot in Los Angeles and will be big and splashy, he promised, including outdoor ads in New York, ads in People, Entertainment Weekly and Us and newspapers, TV spots and an urban-skewing radio buy.

For “Situation Comedy,” which debuts July 26, Bravo has lined up its first integrated sales and promotion package with America Online. The premiere episode will be streamed on AOL and AOL users will be able to vote for the winning pilot.

Bravo is still working out the details of its campaign for “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” which launches Aug. 3, and “Battle of the Network Reality Stars,” which debuts Aug. 17.

Both of those shows will receive cross-promotional television support on Bravo sister NBC Universal’s broadcast and cable channels.

Mr. Klarman also plans outdoor ads in New York and L.A. for Ms. Griffin’s show, as well as advertising and promotion aimed at gay viewers. The network is planning a live reality star tug-of-war in New York as a publicity stunt for “Battle.”

Those shows will be followed by the new season of “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and the premiere of “Hidden Howie, the Secret Life of a Public Nuisance,” both of which premiere Aug. 18.

Mr. Klarman said that launching so many new shows so close together will reinforce the Bravo brand. “It will build out Bravo as one of those surfable channels that there’s always something interesting going on,” he said.

The network also sees an opportunity in the summer when the big broadcast series are in reruns or replaced by reality programming.

“The networks rely more on cable-type reality-oriented programming, and we see it as more of a level playing field as opposed to the fall, with the big fall launches and sweeps. It’s very much a Bravo time,” he said.