Basic cable network E! Entertainment Television and its companion Web sites will team with Universal Pictures to back the Nov. 17 theatrical release of
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
The film adaptation of the classic children's novel, which stars Jim Carrey, will employ one of E!'s most ambitious joint marketing efforts to date. It involves the programming division, on-air promotions, and both E! Online (www.eonline.com) and shop.eonline.com, said E! Networks senior vice president of marketing Stephen Croncota.
"Aside from the Style! end of the company, that's everything [at] E!," Croncota said. He would not disclose the budget for the campaign, but called it a "significant commitment."
The network will employ 10- and 30-second spots to promote a national sweepstakes tied in with
The Grinch's premiere.
The contest, held from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20, will offer a $4,000 gift certificate at participating RadioShack Corp. or Toys 'R' Us stores. Both retailers are among the film's promotional partners.
prize packages will also be awarded, said E! Networks director of promotions Jill Brody.
A one-hour special
Behind the Scenes
will also premiere Sunday, Nov. 12 on E!.
"We position ourselves as the entertainment authority, and the big part of the power of the E! brand is the access we give people to Hollywood stars," Croncota said. "There's probably no other brand that can celebrate the
like E! can."
Movie lovers swept up in the pre-holiday
mania can take advantage of the special "store within a store" on shop.eonline.com. It will feature merchandise ranging from Christmas tree ornaments to lunch boxes to picture frames.
With each purchase from the online
store, consumers will receive free "pretend" Santa ears, said E! Online marketing consultant Susan Sheridan. TV spots on the network and banner ads on E! Online will promote the microsite, which goes live Nov. 7.
E! Online site will host specially-produced
content, including exclusive red-carpet photos from its Hollywood premiere, a sweepstakes entry form and potential chats with actor Carrey or
director Ron Howard.
"We're trying to create this wonderful virtual circle of entertainment for people to go from the television to the computer and back again," Croncota said. "We want to have the most complete entertainment experience possible."
The coordinated television and Web efforts may help position E! for interactive television, Croncota said.
"Interactive television is something we're looking at very closely now," Croncota said. "People love to be involved with movie stars. Interactivity is just going to bring people closer to the stars than they ever have been."
In addition to the consumer promotions, E! plans to support one of Universal Pictures' favorite charities, First Book, with a holiday employee book drive at the network's Los Angeles headquarters.
Throughout November, E! will collect children's books for the non-profit group, which this year expects to gather more than 4 million volumes for low-income families through nationwide drives.