Fuse VJ Search Lures Tie-In Partners


Fuse's "Wanna Be a VJ?" promotion tour — involving Guess? Jeans retail stores and "advertorial" support from Jane
magazine — has drawn Comcast Corp. as an affiliate partner in three markets.

The eight-market tour will tout Fuse's signature show, IMX, the Interactive Music Exchange, with a VJ search as its focal point. All told, the hunt will be supported with promotion valued at $500,000, a spokesman said.

AMC Networks vice president of affiliate marketing Cynthia Carpenter said that Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable are the affiliate tie-ins on the tour's first stop, at the Guess? store at Manhattan's South Street Seaport on Oct. 4. Cablevision will promote its Optimum Online service, while Time Warner touts Road Runner, she said.

Comcast will participate in Chicago, Oct. 9; Dallas, Oct. 11 and in Denver on the tour's finale Oct. 30. Cox Communications Inc. will use the Oct. 16 stop in Las Vegas to call attention to its high-speed Internet service.

Guess? stores alone will host the promotion in San Francisco Oct. 18, San Diego on Oct. 23 and Scottsdale, Arizona, Oct. 25.

The five participating affiliates will each run a minimum of 200 cross-channel promos plugging the "casting call" for young VJ tryouts during the two weeks leading up to the event.

Vice president of sales and marketing Eric Schaefer for Comcast's greater Chicago region, was enthused about the tie-in, which "offers our customers a chance for a little taste of celebrity."

Although Guess? does not advertise on television, Carpenter said its apparel will be worn and plugged on-air by its VJs, who also will talk up the affiliate partners' broadband services.

vice president and publisher Eva Dillon said she acted as matchmaker, bringing Fuse and Guess? together because of their similar demo targets — both appeal to 12-to-34-year-olds. She said the October issue contains an advertorial on the casting-call promotion, and its February edition will carry an article in which the winner describes the experience. Jane's Internet site will also plug the promotion.

The affiliates' own Web sites will carry a link to a special site, where consumers can get promotion details and see event footage.

Dillon said the winning VJ tryout will get a trip to New York for an appearance on IMX, complete with Guess? wardrobe. Fuse also will mount a tie-in sweepstakes in which its viewers, Guess? shoppers and Jane
readers can enter to win other prizes.

Also last week, Fuse announced a linkup with the Tower Records retail chain's in-store promotion, "The Next Big Thing," starting Sept. 13.