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Coke Is It for ABC Family

12/02/2005 7:48 AM Eastern

The Coca-Cola Co.’s polar bears have joined Santa in on-air and online promotional spots as part of ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” programming and ad-sales event.

The soft-drink giant’s Christmas polar bears began popping up in co-branded promotional spots on ABC Family’s air and Web site (abcfamily.go.com/home.html) Dec. 1 via a sponsorship package it bought for the network’s eighth-annual holiday stunt, which once again includes an extensive local-ad-sales component that this season will reach some 60 million homes, driven by national and area sweepstakes.

ABC Family senior vice president of national ad sales Mark Rejtig began working with Coke earlier this fall on the co-branding effort.

“It’s not every year that Coke decides to use the polar bears at holiday. About two months ago, we began talking about ways to tie them in,” he said. “We decided that the best way was to have the bears interact with our Santa in several different executions.”

In addition to the co-branded on-air spots -- which are buttressed by “a sizable” schedule within the stunt that will encompass some 150 hours of holiday fare from Dec. 1-25 -- the network has established the “25 Days Download Den,” an area accessible from its home page.

There, users can download an array of co-branded holiday items, including Christmas cards, screen-savers, wallpapers and programming calendar, featuring the bears and ABC Family 25 Days characters.

ABC Family’s largest ad-sales and programming event -- the network had its best-ever month last December, when it attracted 812,000 adult 18-49 viewers on average to rank fifth overall in basic cable against that demo -- has also drawn a number of other national advertisers.

With it being shopping season, Rejtig said, ABC Family has many major retailers on board.

RadioShack Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart Holding Corp., Target Brands Inc., T.J. Maxx and Sears, Roebuck & Co. are among the chains that have secured time within the stunt, which this year not only includes Rankin/Bass perennials like Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town and Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, but a pair of original films -- Chasing Christmas and Christmas in Boston -- plus How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey vehicle) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

He noted that 15 clients will “own a day” within the stunt period through spots, as well as on-air billboards and associations with bumpers, intros and tune-in spots.

“We could have easily sold all 25 days, but we wanted to make it more special for our client partners,” Rejtig said.

Moreover, Nikon Corp. and Circuit City Stores Inc. are sponsoring the “ABC Family Essentials section” on the network’s Web site, which showcased wish lists to help viewers complete their holiday shopping.

Elsewhere, America Online Inc. bought a package making it the presenting sponsor and the beneficiary of product integration within Christmas in Boston (premiering Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.).

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