Discovery Communications Inc. is leaving no stone unturned
in its attempt to drive tune-in to its upcoming special, Raising the Mammoth, which
airs worldwide March 12.
The documentary is positioned as Discovery Channel's second
"Watch with the World" event, meant to inspire the feeling of shared experience
and togetherness that viewers get when watching a worldwide televised show of the stature
of the Olympic Games, Discovery director of advertising and promotion Susan Campbell said.
The two-hour special will air in primetime in 146 countries
and 23 languages Sunday. While the company declined to predict how many viewers the show
would attract, a spokeswoman said the goal was to make the event similar in scope to last
year's Cleopatra's Palace: In Search of a Legend, which drew 30 million viewers
worldwide, including 10 million in the United States.
"We are trying to promote Discovery as a worldwide
media company with a unique ability to pull this off," Discovery Networks U.S.
director of advertising and promotion Stephanie Lowet said.
Raising the Mammoth highlights an expedition to Siberia
to raise a nearly intact woolly mammoth found frozen in ice.
Discovery plans to appeal to all sorts of viewer
sensibilities to help drive viewership, ranging from educational to pure entertainment
The network has enlisted the news media to play up the
scientific aspects of the event, and Discovery School has created curriculum guides that
teachers can use for their classrooms.
The Museum of Natural History in New York will host a
lecture Wednesday night (March 8) to discuss the expedition's findings. While some clips
will be shown, Discovery was careful not to use this programming as a local screening
event, so it wouldn't take away from the Watch with the World aspect of the promotion.
To attract a broad-based audience, Discovery has been
running 60-second trailers in major-market movie theaters, including the Ziegfeld Theater
in Manhattan. The trailers will also be shown in India and Singapore, dubbed to their
The outdoor campaign will go beyond billboards to include
posters at bus stops and phone kiosks.
And exclusive to Manhattan will be what Discovery is
calling its "Big Woolly Bus." "It looks like it's entirely enveloped in
hair," Campbell said, adding that even the top of the bus includes a promotion of the
Web site, just in case anyone looks down from an office window above.
In other key Manhattan locations this week, Discovery will
hand out pints of a one-time-only ice-cream flavor, "Mammoth Munch." Instead of
a giant prehistoric mammal, a chocolate-covered cookie is buried in ice cream.
The ice cream will also be sent in dry ice as prizes in a
national online sweepstakes where the grand prize offers a choice between a luxury train
ride through Siberia or an active mammoth dig in Hot Springs, S.D.
Another online component offers a downloadable computer
screen that counts down the days until Raising the Mammoth, then roars audibly
every hour on the day of the event.
Shoppers who visit Discovery Stores around the country will
be bombarded by Mammoth merchandise displays, plus branded shopping bags, posters,
banners, in-store video tapes and, in at least one case, a giant mammoth model in the
Asked how the network would gauge the success of the
marketing campaign, Campbell replied that Discovery would like to see great ratings for
the show, and it will do qualitative research to check viewers' responses.
"We all feel a great sense of pride that on a global
basis, we've been able to pull off something so integrated," she added. "I feel
at this point that it is a success."