For cable networks, September is a "sweeps" month
-- as in sweepstakes.
Leading the way are USA Network and A&E Network, which
are going all-out to promote AT&T Presents: Journey to the Center of the Earth
and P.T. Barnum, respectively.
Fox Family Channel and Country Music Television are other
networks that are part of cable's promotion quotient during September.
Journey -- plugged by USA as a four-hour primetime
miniseries starring Treat Williams -- will bow Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 14 and 15),
supported by a "Journey Down Under Sweepstakes," USA's first promotion
tie-in with 597-outlet Circuit City Stores Inc.
The integrated multimedia promotion, running through
Wednesday, offers a family trip to Australia as its grand prize, with tie-in hardcover
versions of the Jules Verne novel and soundtrack compact discs among the lesser prizes. Journey
was shot on location by Hallmark Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.
On-air and radio spots, as well as print and online ads,
will drive consumers to Circuit City stores to enter the sweeps. In-store monitors will
run 40-second promos for the miniseries. With an average of 120 display TV sets in each
store, the retailer said in a prepared statement, more than 66,000 screens will show that
spot daily through this month.
Moreover, Circuit City's electronic-commerce Internet
page will feature a sweepstakes "hot button" linked to USA's dedicated
sweepstakes area, which will include a printable entry form.
USA is not alone in promoting new fall fare via sweepstakes
and other promotions.
A&E vice president of marketing Michael Mohamad
unveiled a batch of promotion tie-ins last week for P.T. Barnum, a two-part
original primetime movie about the flashy showman, which was also produced by Hallmark.
The first part of P.T. Barnum aired this past Sunday
(Sept. 12), with the second part slated for tonight (Sept. 13). The promotions are
"in the true spirit of P.T. Barnum," Mohamad said.
The tie-ins, developed with PDG Promotional Group and Civic
Entertainment Group -- PDG also worked with A&E on Horatio Hornblower
promotions earlier this year -- include linkups with Las Vegas' Circus Circus Hotel
& Casino, restaurant chain TGI Fridays Inc., affiliates and radio stations.
An affiliates sweepstakes promotion involving 130 systems
offers a trip to Circus Circus as its grand prize, while the hotel/casino itself is
offering patrons its own trip, to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in New
A&E also has a kids' tie-in with TGIF, including
place mats and mugs, while the American Library Association's members are competing
in a P.T. Barnum tie-in display contest for cash prizes.
Still other networks running fall promotions include Fox
Family and CMT, each with separate watch-and-win sweepstakes.
Fox Family is partnering with the National Milk Processor
Education Program and Dairy Management Inc. on a "Show and Tell Sweepstakes," in
which viewers must identify network stars from its new fall series who are wearing milk
mustaches in Fox Family's promos, then mail in postcard entries.
CMT's "What's the Word Sweepstakes"
calls for viewers to watch CMT Showcase throughout September, when the Dixie Chicks
are featured, in order to learn the "Chick Word of the Week." The grand prize is
a trip to Australia for the Dixie Chicks' Nov. 3 concert.