Court TV's 'Private Elf' Goes Shopping


New York— In keeping with its tagline "Join the investigation," Court TV is running a holiday-themed Kris Kringle, Private Elf interstitial and has booked Sears, Roebuck & Co. as its sponsor.

The 30-second Kringle interstitial and a related Web site — featuring the holiday icon in a Sam Spade-like fedora and raincoat — is designed to bolster Christmas-gift sales for the retailer.

Sears bought the sponsorship during the recent fourth-quarter scatter-sales market, via WPP Group's MindShare, Court TV senior vice president of marketing Evan Shapiro said. But the network created the concept and its execution, he said.

In the spot, Kringle is seated at his desk with Sears' Web site on his PC screen. In voiceover, he says: " 'Tis the season, and I found myself in the middle of a sticky situation. A nice mom from Minneapolis just couldn't find the perfect gift for her hubby.

"My associates at Court TV cracked the case" by visiting Sears' Web site, he added. The spot then shifts gears to highlight tools found on the site.

Kringle then forwards the link with its "great gift ideas" to the lady, adding, " 'cause that's my job. I'm Kris Kringle, Private Elf."

The announcer then calls viewers' attention to both the Web site ( and the special holiday-gift search airing "weekdays at 5 p.m. on Catherine Crier Live
— brought to you by Sears."

Kringle's Internet site is also linked to Sears' site as well as the "Court TV Bookstore."

The "Wish it. Find it" tagline from Sears' holiday commercials is also featured on Court's Kringle site and in the retailer's spots, which run adjacent to the Private Elf interstitials.

Court is so enthused about the concept that it now intends to include the private-eye Kringle character in its spring 2003-04 upfront presentations for the next yuletide season.

Shapiro said the network is mulling whether to incorporate him in similar gift-tip interstitials for other holiday periods.