Trio Takes Manhattan, Storms Windy City with Market Blitz

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Trio will ride dual marketing tracks in Chicago and New York next month.

Deploying multimedia schedules, Universal Television Group's pop-culture network hopes to buttress its brand in Chicago, while stoking tune-in and awareness for its thematic "Uncensored Comedy" programming stunt.

As the cable industry convenes in the Windy City at the National Show from June 8 to 11, Trio will air local spots on NBC's Today
and ABC's Good Morning America. It will also unleash an outdoor barrage featuring its tagline "Trio. pop, culture, TV" on some 300 bus posters and six billboards.

Convention-goers will also be targeted via ads on four NCTA shuttle buses and video screens therein. Those craning their necks may also happen upon two street blimps circling McCormick Place and convention hotels.

'Moving billboards'

"They're like moving billboards. We think people will take notice," said Trio vice president Jason Klarman.

Creative in Chicago will include a quote from The Washington Post's
Tom Shales: "more ambitious than Bravo and A&E put together."

Said Klarman: "We're making a bold statement with this creative from one of America's premiere critics: that we're on par with analog services. We're providing digital value for operators."

Trio, now in 20 million homes, will look to prompt awareness and tune-in in the Big Apple for its comedy programming next month.

It has secured regional print buys in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time
and Entertainment Weekly, as well as national ads in The New York Times. Spot cable buys (on USA Network, Sci Fi Channel, Comedy Central and E! Entertainment Television) and local spots on network shows (Mad TV, Late Show With David Letterman
and Saturday Night Live) have also been procured.

For the first time, Trio has bought radio ads, including schedules on New York all-news stations WCBS-AM and WINS-AM. And Howard Stern will read Trio promos live on his WXRK-FM morning show.

The outdoor media plan involves 300 bus posters, 600 subway platforms, 200 bus shelters, 120 phone kiosks and wild postings.

Anchoring this effort is a Sunday June 8 time buy on WLNY-TV. Long Island's channel 55, which has must-carry distribution with systems owned by Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp. in the New York DMA.

Third time buy

The station will air a truncated one-hour version of Trio's original documentary Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny.

This is Trio's third time buy, said Klarman. Similar gambits in Philadelphia and Los Angeles produced a torrent of buzz, phone calls and e-mails, he said.

In its entirety, Uncencored Comedy: That's Not Funny!
is a 90-minute examination of offensive humor, and how comedians deal with the fine line between what's funny and what's unacceptable. New York campaign creative features a headline reading "We'd Formally Like To Apologize To:" before copy lists 67 different groups.

"We're being an equal opportunity offender with a sense of humor with this one," said Klarman.

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