Campaigns of Distinction: ‘Chasing Farrah’

Jun 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

By Libby Slate

Special to TelevisionWeek

Larry Jones, president of TV Land and Nick at Nite, thought he had the promotional campaign set for “Chasing Farrah,” an up-close-and-personal look at “Charlie’s Angels” icon Farrah Fawcett that was to premiere March 23 as TV Land’s first reality series.

But during a fateful meeting with the network’s Richmond, Va.-based ad firm The Martin Agency, Art Director Mark Brye suggested a new idea: a photo of Ms. Fawcett, hands folded demurely in prayer, sporting a devil’s tail, under the tagline, “She’s No Angel.”

Plan A was out, Plan B was quickly in. “It was a great, visually compelling ad,” Mr. Jones said. “It said so much in just one image and a few words.”

Martin handled the off-TV campaign, while TV Land/Nick at Nite brand creative Senior VP Kim Rosenblum did the television promos. TV spots aired on all MTV networks; radio spots were personalized for 30 markets. Ms. Fawcett herself made a few TV appearances and participated in the Television Critics Association press tour.

The print “She’s No Angel” campaign covered the customary bases, such as the entertainment and advertising trade and consumer magazines. TV Land established a “Chasing Farrah” Web site and sent out e-mail and direct-mail notices to promote the show.

Then there were the less conventional promotions. “We had a tease poster in Times Square in January,” Mr. Jones said, “and in March we put up a poster on the side of the Hyatt West Hollywood Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.” Ads were also placed on New York phone kiosks and bus shelters, while 700,000 coffee cups from mobile Manhattan street vendors also spread the word.

The premiere’s high ratings were proof of the campaign’s success. “A big part of my job was to make sure the communication between [everybody] was open and flowing, otherwise nothing would pop at the same time. You want a big bang,” Mr. Jones said.

Those promotional pyrotechnics might not have occurred at all were it not for Mr. Jones’ openness to new ideas, said Rob Pellizzi, senior VP of marketing and promotions for TV Land and Nick at Nite, who supervised all off-channel media.

Mr. Pellizzi said. “We were going with another promotion. It was great to have a boss who was willing to shift gears. We went on to hit a home run.”

Larry Jones

Title: President, TV Land and Nick at Nite

How long in current position: Since July 2004; joined Nick at Nite in 1988, eight years before TV Land’s inception

Year of birth: 1960

Place of birth: Youngstown, Ohio

Who knew? Mr. Jones collects American art of the 1930s and 1940s from the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Artists Project.