Discovery Sets Summer 'Brain' Blitz


Discovery Channel aims to fire on all synapses with its latest branding and tune-in campaign, which officials said is the network's biggest yet.

Initial salvos in the ongoing effort — which employs the new themeline "Entertain Your Brain" — bolstered tune-in for Walking With Cavemen
in mid-June and generated early awareness for the network's 15th annual "Shark Week," due Aug. 10-17, according to senior vice president of marketing Julie Gordon Willis.

The summer phase will wind down after Nefertiti Remembered, due Aug. 17.

The Shark Week push actually began in early June — the earliest-ever teaser for that annual programming stunt, said Willis, who would not disclose the budget behind Entertain Your Brain.

The current spot features people staring, statue-like, at pools of all sorts — from Olympic-sized to a rubber wading pool. A voiceover then says, "Shark Week's back — like you didn't already know that."

The summertime marketing efforts occur "predominantly on TV," she said, with buys on network cable (including Comedy Central, ESPN, Lifetime Television, TBS Superstation and Turner Network Television) and spot broadcast TV.

In addition, on-air promos will run across the many Discovery Networks U.S. services and on monitors in the programmer's Discovery Channel Stores retail outlets.

Discovery has also bought network and spot radio, online banner ads and print space in such magazines as Entertainment Weekly, People, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated
and Vanity Fair, plus such newspapers as The New York Times, The Washington Post
and USA Today.

The spot TV and radio buys will concentrate on 30 key markets, she said.

A spot titled "Skydiver" was created in-house, a spokesman said, but the three others were crafted by Discovery Channel's new agency, Atlanta-based BaylessCronin Advertising.

In the spot, after his first chute fails to open, a skydiver sees his TV life flash before him — clips from Walking With Dinosaurs
and Air Jaws, for instance — as a voiceover from actor Ed Harris observes that people watch seven years' worth of television in their lifetimes, so "make sure it's worth it."

Finally, the skydiver sees American Chopper's Paul Teutul shouting, "Yo, pull the second chute!" The chute — emblazoned with the Discovery Channel name — then opens.

Another spot features various people singing, "Let me entertain you" — a professor, a mechanic, a deep-sea diver, a surgeon, an archeologist at a dig and a beekeeper.

Off-channel, a trivia competition dubbed "Smarty Pants" will be staged by alternative marketing firm Interference Inc. at coffee houses and trendy bars in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago throughout this month.

"A trivia host and an attractive sidekick" will quiz patrons about such Discovery-linked topics as Egypt, forensics and sharks, and winners will receive premiums.

Discovery has also posted an Internet trivia microsite ( which will feature downloadable tie-in desktop wallpaper and stream the network's spots.