Promax to Give Stations Preview

Jun 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Martha Stewart will preview proper promotions at Promax for her new syndicated show.

Station promotion executives attending the annual Promax&BDA convention in New York this week will also hear about the promotion plans for new first-run series featuring Tyra Banks from Warner Bros. and Judge Alex Ferrer from Twentieth Television, as well as a handful of off-network launches and the seventh season of Twentieth’s “Divorce Court.”

Ms. Stewart will be the featured attraction at a lunch for affiliates. She’ll show off the first phase of the promotion for her show, which is distributed by NBC Universal. “Martha” will be taped live with a studio audience and will feature field pieces, celebrity guests and audience interaction.

The six spots-three :10s and three :15s-“highlight the fun, the energy, the excitement of the show,” said Betsy Bergman, VP of marketing for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

The spots were shot two weeks ago at Ms. Stewart’s home in Bedford, N.Y., and are designed to show “the more casual side of Martha,” who is usually described as a tough perfectionist. They’ll be delivered to stations at the end of the month.

In one, Ms. Stewart poses with her new dog; in another she’s cleaning a window. Using the pet was Ms. Stewart’s idea, said Heidi Diamond, president of television for Martha Steward Living Omnimedia. “As in all elements of our company, she’s a creative force and she’s got great ideas.”

The campaign is unlikely to allude to Ms. Stewart’s recent conviction and incarceration, which might have raised her profile and created curiosity about seeing her in a new show. “Everyone knows who she is,” Ms. Bergman said.

Upcoming phases of the campaign will tell viewers more about the show and where and when they can see it, eventually focusing on the Sept. 12 launch date.

In addition to TV spots, the show will take advantage of other media owned by NBCU and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Ms. Stewart will appear on NBC’s “Today” show twice a month, and items about the show will appear in Martha Stewart Living magazine. There will be sweepstakes, radio and Internet promotion.

“You try to fire on as many cylinders as you can,” Ms. Bergman said.

Warner Bros. will focus on the launch of new talker “The Tyra Banks Show” with a 12-week campaign, with the first phase starting next week.

“It’s an extremely big push for us,” said Yelena Garofolo, senior VP of marketing and advertising for Warner Bros. Marketing Services. The campaign will use national cable and print.

“We’re telling our consumers that she is a real person,” Ms. Garofolo said. “While she is a very successful supermodel and a very successful businesswoman and a producer with [hit UPN reality show ‘America’s Next Top Model],’ she’s also this real person that you may not be that familiar with.”

The first set of promotions, out this week, will be bio spots, showing Ms. Banks growing up and selling lemonade on a street corner, to show that she’s worked a long time to get where she is.

“Tyra’s appeal is specifically to women 25 to 34, and the concept of the show is that our audience is going to be taking a journey with Tyra,” Ms. Garofolo said. “She’s 31 years old and she’s right smack in the middle of our core audience, so audiences can relate to her because of her everyday life. Obviously you can’t relate to the Victoria’s Secret model, but you can relate to the everyday things that she goes through, the relationships, the boyfriends, wanting to get married. She wants kids very much.”

Later phases of the campaign will show viewers more of what the show is going to be like. In the last phase of the campaign, there will be a countdown, ticking off the days until the show starts. “We’re really promoting it as a big event and a big premiere,” she said.

Ms. Garofolo said the launch of the Martha Stewart show had little effect on the plays for “Tyra.” “I think Martha’s audience is much older. And it’s a different kind of show, from what I understand. Our show is going to be more about topics that these women can relate to,” she said.

Twentieth Television will base much of its marketing for “Judge Alex” on host Judge Ferrer, who has been a police officer, an attorney and a judge.

“We want to use that background and sell his credibility,” said Susan Kantor, senior VP of marketing and creative for Twentieth Television.

Judge Ferrer is a good-looking guy with a wry wit about him, which Ms. Kantor said might set him apart in the court show competition.

The campaign will start about six weeks before the Sept. 12 premiere, she said.

Twentieth is planning to do online marketing and has nearly completed a deal with a retail promotional partner.

In addition to creating promos for the stations carrying “Judge Alex,” Twentieth will help stations that have several of the court shows create a court block they can promote. “We want to make sure we’re working closely with the stations,” she said.

The syndicators will also talk at Promax&BDA about how they plan to promote some off-net launches.

Warner Bros. is launching HBO original series “Sex and the City” on local stations this fall. The distributor was able to shoot material using the show’s four stars a year ago, after production stopped. TBS, which carries the show’s off-net run on cable, shot its promos at the same time. The theme of the campaign emphasizes that viewers can see the show five days a week and focuses on the program’s relationships and friendships.

“We knew in this climate you couldn’t launch it as a show about sex,” said Lauren Dansey, VP of Warner Bros. Marketing Services. “It’s not really a show about sex.”

Warner Bros. is also launching “Smallville” and will emphasize a weekend message for the show. One spot shows the Clark Kent character throwing a tractor and calls it a “weekend fling.” Other spots will emphasize the Superman legend. Another phase of the campaign is specifically designed to appeal to female viewers.

Twentieth will launch “24” and “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Syndication will give viewers a chance to catch up with “24” if they haven’t been watching regularly on Fox, Ms. Cantor said.

The “Bernie Mac” campaign aims to capitalize on the popularity of Mr. Mac generated by his comedy and theatrical films in addition to the TV show. For “Bernie Mac,” Twentieth is planning a text messaging campaign and a call-in campaign offering a joke of the day.

Twentieth is also planning a special campaign to mark the seventh season of “Divorce Court.” The campaign will use the theme “The cure for the seven-year itch.”

“We want to keep it fresh and top-of-mind with consumers,” Ms. Kantor said.

She added that Judge Mablean Ephriam appeared on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” and lost a lot of weight. “There’s a lot less under the robe.”