WWE Shaves Some Heads

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WWE fans shouldn't be able to miss the logo-shaved heads, pizza boxes, viral videos and talent-personalized phone calls touting Wrestlemania 23 on April 1 in Detroit's Ford Field.

The entertainment company plans promotions that it estimates to be worth $70 million to support its annual grappling extravaganza, according to Geof Rochester, senior vice president of marketing at WWE.

Strategies range from the common — such as cross-channel spots on basic cable networks, local events with affiliates tied to the “WWE Fan Axxess Tour,'' which hits 14 major markets through March 23 — to the weird. As part of a radio promotion in seven markets, the company will pay fans to shave “WM23 April 1” into their hair, for instance.

Through cable affiliates, the wrestling event will be backed with 1.25 million direct mail promotion pieces and free on-demand and broadband content. “WWE 24/7 On Demand,” the group's subscription video-on-demand platform, will program special Wrestlemania content in March.

Web site and merchant partnerships also are a major part of the promotional push. Wrestlemania content will be featured on YouTube and MySpace and banner advertising will appear on key men's lifestyle, sports and gaming sites. Retailers Wal-Mart, F.Y.E., Game Stop, Steve and Barry's and Arm Air Force Exchange Services will display promotional material at 10,000 locations across the nation.

A DVD rerelease of the Michigan-based Wrestlemania III, held in the Pontiac Silverdome 20 years ago, is timed to hype the latest event. For its part, WWE's mobile division will offer video, voice tones and wallpaper for cellphone users.

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