Turner Readies Multinetwork Promo Blitz


So far, Turner Network Sales has developed six affiliate promotions for Turner Network Television, three for TBS Superstation and two for Turner Classic Movies, according to TNS vice president of entertainment marketing Lisa Richardson.

TNS, the affiliate-sales and marketing arm for Turner Broadcasting System Inc.'s 11 domestic networks, said the number of affiliate participants ranges from four or five for Professional Golfers' Association of America and World Championship Wrestling tie-ins to one-dozen or more for others with Cartoon Network, TNT's Running Mates and TBS' Atlanta Braves games.

The numbers "run the gamut," depending on everything from client interest to budget constraints, as in the case of the 13-market "Cartoon Cartoon Fridays Tour," she noted.

Wherever possible, Turner promotions will offer integrated opportunities, encompassing marketing, ad-sales and public-affairs elements-"at least two of the three," Richardson said.

All of this multifaceted promo activity is "more than usual" for summer into winter. But she said it was hard to quantify the dollar worth of all of that marketing support.

TNT will focus on the top 12 markets Aug. 7 through 13 for a promotion tied into its upcoming showings of two movies with presidential themes-TNT Original Running Mates, starring Tom Selleck, and Michael Douglas theatrical The American President.

Participating affiliates will run at least 250 taggable Running Mates promos across non-Turner networks, with consumers getting a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles for an all-star gala screening of Selleck's movie Aug. 1. Its TNT primetime bow is slated for Aug. 13.

Contemporary radio stations will also sponsor local screenings, as well as running presidential trivia contests for which the top prizes will be trips to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration in January.

Also during August, TNT will break a "Gateway Country Back-to-School Hummer Tour" as a WCW tie-in.

Affiliates and radio outlets will link with the WCW Humvee's visits to Gateway Inc. retail stores in Denver (Aug. 6); Wichita, Kan. (Aug. 20); Omaha, Neb. (Aug. 26); and Dallas (Sept. 3). WCW Monday Nitro events, moreover, will be staged in all markets but Omaha, TNT said, adding that wrestlers will make appearances at each Nitro stop.

Originally, TNS had planned to have AT & T Broadband and Excite@Home Corp. tie in as the affiliate and Internet-access provider in Denver and Dallas and for Cox Communications Inc. to link with Excite@Home in Omaha and with Road Runner in Wichita.

But she added that TNS has now shifted the emphasis from modems to pay-per-view, so the top prize in each market will be a large-screen TV, PPV coupons for WCW's Slamboree PPV event in September and a pizza party for 25 people.

But cable modems will likely figure in future TNS promotions, she continued, hinting that one prospect may involve Spawn's TBS debut in October. Spawn is the animated, comic book-inspired series that originally ran on Home Box Office.

In addition, TNT's 10-week, 11-market "Saturday Night New Classics" radio promotion for affiliates will end Aug. 4. Trivia-based contests will offer one grand prize via radio and one via online in each market, each worth about $15,000.

During July, TNT Sports promotions will center on the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Wimbledon Championships and the 2000 PGA Championship. A radio promotion pegged to TNT's first Wimbledon coverage will involve about 10 markets, Richardson said.

For the PGA, TNT will target Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis-all of which will host future PGA championships-as well as Louisville, Ky., this year's host city.

From July 17 through Aug. 10, TNT will have a co-branded presence with affiliates at several golf courses in each market, where consumers can win trips to the PGA tourney (Aug. 18 through 20). Besides signage at the golf courses, TNT will back the promotion with co-branded cross-channel promos and newspaper ads.

Come October, Richardson said, TNS will customize a TNT "Trick or Treat" UNICEF promotion exclusively for Time Warner Cable systems in 40 markets.

Meanwhile, at TBS, she said, America Online Inc. is the presenting sponsor of the "Braves on TBS SuperTour," a 12-market Southeastern tour that began in mid-June.

Local affiliate sweepstakes in each market and a national online sweepstakes will offer such prizes as $1 million, tickets to "Ted's Box" (Braves owner and Time Warner Inc. vice chairman Ted Turner), free AOL subscriptions and Philips Consumer Electronics Co. DVD players.

AOL will also be the presenting sponsor of TBS' July 23 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Winston Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 race, and it will back a tie-in "Watch 'n Win" sweepstakes in 14 key markets, where radio stations will contribute to the hype.

Another NASCAR-related promotion involves affiliates selling local ad-sales packages around a show-car tour visiting, say, a Ford Motor Co. car dealer, she said.

In addition, TBS has set Circuit City Stores Inc. and Metricom Inc.'s "Ricochet" service as the national sponsors for "15 Days of 007," the James Bond film festival, the next installment of which is scheduled for Oct. 1 through 15.

Last year, "CyberBond," the interactive TV/Web-convergence experience powered by ACTV Inc.'s "HyperTV with Livewire," generated 2.7 million page views by 250,000 unique visitors, TBS senior vice president and general sales manager Linda Yaccarino said.

Promos on TBS and on the Web will promote the festival, as well as the "Bond World Tour Sweepstakes."

TCM ran a customer-retention affiliate push around The Wizard of Oz, which made its first commercial-free appearance on TV last week in primetime July 3. Cable subscribers were asked to show their cable bills at Warner Bros. Studio Stores to obtain 15 percent discounts on Oz merchandise, Richardson said.

TCM also co-hosted Oz screenings with MediaOne Group Inc., Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable in a handful of markets.

Picking up on that film's famous line, "There's no place like home," TCM tested a public-affairs outreach effort with Time Warner's Albany, N.Y., system, which involved Habitat for Humanity building a home for a family. Next year, the network plans to roll that out to "five or 10 markets," she added.

TCM's next big promotion relates to events leading up to the Jan. 8, 2001, TV premiere of the completely re-edited, letterbox version of the concert movie Elvis, That's the Way It Is.

The network plans a batch of promotional tie-ins around the Aug. 12 theatrical "sneak preview," due at Elvis Presley's Graceland estate.

RCA Records, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Gibson Musical Instruments and Musicland Stores Corp. will partner with TCM in a sweepstakes with prizes including a two-night stay at Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, dinner for two at Elvis Presley's Memphis restaurant and a VIP tour of Graceland.

Also during August, TCM will schedule "Elvis Sundays" as an eight-film salute that includes short-form documentaries. The network's Web site, moreover, will link to elvis-presley.com.

Cartoon has one promotion in the field now-the Cartoon Cartoon Fridays Tour-and several more due later this summer, fall and winter, involving Subway Restaurants and Kraft Foods Inc.'s Post Cereals, as Multichannel News previously reported.

Cartoon's latest addition is a national/local ad-sales promotion that will center on its new Sheep in the Big City, Richardson said, adding that a "pajama pizza party" will be the top contest prize. That series is due to bow this month.