Event Seeks to Build Bridges

Sep 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

By Sherri Killam-Williams

Special to TelevisionWeek

The ever-expanding media frontier provides more opportunities than ever for promotion, but targeting the right audience and making the message stick may never have been trickier.

Helping corporate sponsors and TV networks build relationships so both can promote products effectively is the motivation behind The L.A. Office’s RoadShow Hollywood, running today through Wednesday at the ArcLight cinema complex in Hollywood. TV Day, with a special focus on networks and potential sponsors, is Wednesday.

Contending with 500 channels, TiVo and consumers prone to skipping commercials, brands have to be in more places than on just traditional TV, including such outlets as newspapers and the Internet, said Mitch Litvak, president of The L.A. Office, the Los Angeles marketing firm that sponsors RoadShow Hollywood.

“They need to get a buzz going, whether it’s an entertainment property or a brand, and they need to find alternative ways of doing it. There’s just such a barrage of advertising messages going on. They need to be in more places and get longer exposure,” Mr. Litvak said.

Getting a buzz going was exactly what The N network, Nickelodeon’s digital nighttime channel for teens, accomplished last year because of RoadShow Hollywood, said Angela Leaney, senior VP of brand communications at Nickelodeon Digital TV.

“It seemed a good time to launch us. We had a phenomenal year,” Ms. Leaney said.

Network marketing executives say the RoadShow is provides the forum to reach companies they otherwise wouldn’t.

“From a partnership perspective, we’re having a dialogue [during RoadShow] with clients whom we may not have contact with on a regular basis. It allows us to see what new platforms we have,” said Samantha Maltin, VP of business development and worldwide partnerships promotions marketing at Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon, now in its 26th year, is a diverse business with such products as Nickelodeon magazine, Nick Jr. Family Magazine, consumer products, recreation, feature films, Nick.com, TurboNick and cable and broadcast shows.

“This year I’m going to be focused on a multiplatform marketing approach-how we can develop 360-degree marketing programs together,” Ms. Maltin said. Nickelodeon has participated in RoadShow for several years.

This year marks the first time World Wrestling Entertainment has been a presenter at the RoadShow, said Dan Levi, WWE senior VP of marketing .

“In the past our business has traditionally focused on selling advertising spots on “SmackDown” and “RAW.” Our program “RAW” is moving to USA Network on Oct. 3. When that happens, we will no longer be in the business of selling advertising spots. It will be more getting corporate partners that value the WWE audience and value the WWE brand,” Mr. Levi said.

Presenters for TV Day are divided into two categories, kids and family and teens and adults. WWE’s target audience is multigenerational-young males, ages 12 to 34, many of whom watch WWE with their fathers, uncles or brothers. “The WWE audience is very passionate and loyal, and we see the value of that audience every day,” Mr. Levi said. “We would love to find brands that have a similar interest in a young-adult-male audience.”

Marketers and studios participate in RoadShow for two reasons: to build relationships and get a better view of what’s going on in the marketing and entertainment worlds. “It may just be exchanging business cards, for when they have the right opportunity,” Mr. Litvak explained. Each studio makes a 40-minute presentation about its new slate of products to brand marketers. Marketers and studios that decide to work together may devise a marketing message. This type of promotion differs from traditional advertising in that not a lot of money changes hands to pay for the promotion.

“Traditionally, the brand pays for the media and it’s media they’re already buying. The advertiser is just using the equity of the TV product,” Mr. Litvak said. The L.A. Office RoadShow began eight years ago with events in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles to match brands with film projects. Four years ago television and music were added to the mix, and this year for the first time gaming will be included. While the RoadShow no longer travels to Chicago and New York, it will venture across the Atlantic to London in October for RoadShow Europe.