As clients put more and more pressure on their media agencies to figure out how to break through an ever increasingly crowded media environment, it becomes imcumbent on those who work on the planning side to think out-of-the-box.
That’s almost a cliche these days, but it’s far easier said than done.
Here’s a most recent example of out-of-the-box thinking that sounds smart.
The set-up: The History Channel has this pretty cool show called "Pawn Stars." For those who haven’t seen it, think "American Chopper" meets "Antiques Roadshow." It all about the goings on at the Gold and Silver pawn shop in Las Vegas.
The show features three generations of the Harrisons: Granddad Richard, who started the pawn shop, his son Rick, and Rick’s son Corey.
As you may have guessed, the show skews male.
The question then becomes: What’s a good way to promote this show to its target demo.
That was basically the challenge put to Horizon Media by Ann Marie Granite, History’s Director of Consumer Media, and her boss, Chris Moseley, Senior Vice President of Marketing for History.
Moseley, who has won just about every marketing award out there, is a long-time veteran of some great promo campaigns she did for the Hallmark Channel, and before that at Discovery Communications.
As Granite and Moseley explained to me the other day, the idea is to present the History Channel as an entertainment brand that delivers substance and real information.
So here’s what Horizon came up with: "Pawn Stars," which has new episodes starting Nov. 30th, has hooked up with Top Rank to sponsor the Nov. 14th world championship welterweight boxing match, in Vegas, between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
Horizon worked with The Leverage Agency, Top Rank’s brand marketing and sales agency, to do the deal.
According to the History announcement, "Pawn Stars" will sponsor the ‘Tale of the Tape,’ and will be prominent in the opening, closing and pre-main event portions" of the fight, which will be televised, live, as an HBO pay-per-view event.
Furthermore, the announcement says that "the deal includes ring announcements and ringside seating" for all three of the Harrisons. The venue will be filled with signage featuring the "Pawn Stars" logo, including on the mat.
In addition, "Pawn Stars" will be integrated into the ads for the fight. You’ll even get a "Pawn Stars" message if you watch the weigh in, which will be widely distributed by ESPN, DirecTV and Yahoo.com, among others.
Moseley says that it’s a hallmark History Channel campaign in that it’ll have an "organic" feel. "Half will be advertising, half will be the presence of the Harrisons themselves," she says. For example, plan to see the Harrisons, identified with "Pawn Stars," on-camera during the National Anthem before the fight. And they’ll be at the press conference as well–I.D’d with their show, of course.
Furthermore, Moseley says this deal with Top Rank is in the tradition of History’s out-of-the box promotions, which include several firsts, such as the first "wrapping" of an Acela Amtrak train and the first "wrapping" of a New York City subway car.
According to Granite and Moseley, the smart media agencies–and the smart brands–should work to break through media clutter by coming up with integrated plans that put brands in places that at first might seem unexpected, but upon reflection are perfect fits.#