Getting 'Naked’ In New York

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Affiliates and their advertisers from 50 markets will be hosted on a trip to Manhattan, their reward for supporting the launch of the new Lifetime reality series How to Look Good Naked.

The promotion was Lifetime’s first for a reality show, and is modeled after the successful campaign behind the debut of its series Army Wives.

“We wanted to provide a unique opportunity that operators can’t offer on their own,” said vice president of affiliate ad sales and distribution marketing Sue Panzer.

The trip reward is linked to promotion of the series, an Americanized version of a hit show from the United Kingdom’s Channel 4. Hosted by Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), the show teaches women of all shapes and sizes how to go from self-loathing to self-loving without resorting to binge dieting or cosmetic surgery.

Lifetime showed prospective promotional partners a three-minute excerpt. “This clip sold itself,” Panzer said. “We knew we should do a local affiliate promotion.”

Operators taking part in the promotion include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications and Suddenlink Communications.

Each participating market among those operators vowed to schedule 300 tune-in spots during the run-up to the reality show’s Jan. 4 debut.

Two people in each market will get airfare to and accommodations in New York the weekend of Feb. 8. The network’s guests will have dinner with Kressley at a SoHo restaurant. The next day, Lifetime will leverage its partnership with Macy’s, hosting a breakfast at the department store, including a fashion show. Following the show, the affiliates and advertisers will get tote bags and a discounted shopping opportunity at the store.

Howard Levinson, New York City regional vice president for Time Warner Cable Media Sales, said he loves a promotion that offers him the ability to give an advertiser something they can’t go out and buy. Plus, female body image is a hot topic and “Carson’s a tremendous talent. People want to meet him,” Levinson said.

Feedback on the promotion has been so strong that 23 other markets are being provided with Lifetime-branded style tip cards, to be distributed to local businesses as premiums they can give away.

Also, on Jan. 3, Lifetime will host New York area affiliates who promoted the show to dinner at The Palm.