Hallmark Giving Away Paris Trips to Promote Phantom

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As part of its local-ad-sales campaign supporting the basic-cable premiere of The Phantom of the Opera June 23 at 8 p.m., Hallmark Channel is offering 22 prize packages to Paris, including a trip to the Opera Garnier, the setting of the theatrical.

Marking the network’s first international trip giveaway, Hallmark, according to senior vice president of network distribution and service Janice Arouh, is working with Cablevision Systems throughout its New York DMA footprint and select Time Warner Cable and Comcast markets.

Playing off the Warner Bros. film, the World of the Phantom sweepstakes gives users a choice of tunnels on their journey through virtual catacombs, as participating affiliate customers will visit a specially designed microsite, which will be customized by the local advertising partner.

At the end of the game, players click on the Phantom's mask to reveal their "secret" or prize. One person will be selected randomly to win the grand prize. First and second prizes from Warner Bros. and Hallmark Flowers & Gifts will also be awarded.

Affiliates are required to run 200 tune-in spots, brand-customizable to reflect the operator and the local advertiser, the week of June 17-23, leading up to Phantom’s premiere.

Hallmark officials said the LAS program attracted client interest from the entertainment, electronics, food, beverage, automotive and retail categories, among others.

Senior director of affiliate ad sales Rita Carpino said that in one market, an affiliate was finally able to bring in a long-sought-after restaurant client, while another expanded a budget by taking "radio money."

Arouh noted that Comcast inked a Phantom LAS package with the Atlanta Opera House, which is touting its events lineup.

She added that the current LAS promotion grew out of the success Hallmark and its affiliates enjoyed with last year's effort surrounding Academy Award-winning documentary March of the Penguins, which, like Phantom, was part of the network's acquisition of 39 theatricals from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.

Arouh said Cablevision Systems, Comcast and Time Warner Cable approached Hallmark about getting involved with its next big LAS effort.

She added that the network -- which counts some 55 million local-ad-insertable homes among its almost 83 million subscribers -- is building toward its holiday 2007 initiative and would "like to extend opportunities to participating distributors."