Fuse Lights Up Image Effort

11/02/2003 7:00 PM Eastern

Continuing its irreverent approach to reaching independent-minded music viewers, Fuse is poised to unveil the third phase of its image campaign, featuring its first TV schedule and print ads showcasing certain "anti-spokespeople."

Fuse's initiative hits the small screen on Nov. 17. The network will deploy a "low-tech, animated spokescharacter," according to president Marc Juris.

Four spots, presented in the style of public service announcements, will run nationally on DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network.

The commercials will air on various cable-delivered networks in seven markets: Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Orlando and Tampa, Fla., San Diego and Seattle. In its previous image efforts, Fuse had used only on-air promos.

"We've stepped things up. This is the first time we're using mainstream TV advertising," said Juris, who added that Fuse would continue to integrate its campaign on and in other online areas.

On the print side, over the next two months Fuse will deploy a quartet of local and nationally known "anti-spokespeople" — ex-televangelist Tammy Faye; Hair Club for Men founder Sy Sperling; psychic Cleo (formerly Miss Cleo); and Robin Byrd, hostess of randy Manhattan cable-access show Byrd Brains.

Fuse president Marc Juris said the network has bought full-page ads in the December and January issues of such publications as Blender, The Onion and Rolling Stone. Fuse, which is positioning itself against MTV: Music Television and its relative lack of music-video programming, also will deploy outdoor advertising, including a billboard in New York's Times Square, and wild postings.

The various print executions will showcase the aforementioned quartet, while featuring such copy as: "I've seen the light, it was on TV and it has music videos on it." from Tammy Faye, and "When I watch music videos on Fuse, my remote always ends up in the oddest places," from Byrd.

Juris said the new campaign builds on previous phases: "Save the Music Video," starring Sally Struthers, and "The Fuse Beach House".

"We want to continue to convey the unexpected point of view and that Fuse is a different service from those offered by [MTV parent] by Viacom [Inc.]: We play music videos," said Juris. "These are quirky, silly ads that reinforce who we are."

Fuse is owned by Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Rainbow Media.

Juris pegged spending for Fuse's current initiative in the "seven figures."

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