Bravo Promo Blinks a Queer Eye


Bravo plans a promotional facial in support of its upcoming entry into the makeover genre. The treatment The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
will get in both affiliate and consumer marketing support is comparable "to a decent size series launch on NBC," said Vivi Zigler, senior vice president of marketing and advertising services at The NBC Agency, which is coordinating the effort.

The elements range from cross-channel spots to gay-pride parade appearances in New York and Los Angeles. Another side of the campaign, to kick in this week, is raising the eyebrows of NBC broadcast affiliates.

Queer Eye, bowing July 15, brings five lifestyle experts together — each gay — to upgrade the look and habits of a straight subject. One situation is covered per episode. The full promotion stresses the show's personable aspects.

"There's a lot of heart in this show, when you go past the basics of a makeover," Zigler noted. "The experts care about having the subjects be better people. That heart will come out more and more as the campaign goes along."

Bravo's affiliates have cross-channel spots and direct mail pieces in hand to get the word out, said vice president of cable marketing Erica Conaty. Cross-channel placement is being encouraged on other networks devoted to lifestyle or pop culture, such as TLC and E! Entertainment Television.

Additional local avail time will be bought by Bravo in nine markets, as well as on DirecTV and EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network.

Late last month, Queer Eye's experts participated in the New York and Los Angeles pride parades, riding Volkswagens the entire way. Street teams distributed whistles, T-shirts, tune-in cards and other materials.

Also, radio contest promotions were launched last month in a number of top-25 DMA markets.

From now through Queer Eye's premiere, NBC plans to run 30-second messages for the show. In a break from past practices, the spots will be day-and-time specific.

Previously, such tags were generic, limited to show title and network. In return, Bravo will carry day-and-time-specific promos for NBC's primetime lineup.

Several NBC affiliates are upset with the approach, fearful that running day-and-date spots will draw away their viewers. NBC's affiliate board will hold a conference call this week or next to decide on the matter.

One recourse: pre-empt the spots for news updates or newscast promos.

"Will this be a crimp? Could be," acknowledged Zigler. "It may diminish the campaign's impact, but we won't end up a zero."

Ironically, Bravo had day-and-date promos ready for cable affiliates to carry, but they won't do so. "Frankly, we'd like to do them, but the operators say they need more time to change their reels," Conaty said.