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ABC Family Counts Down 25 Days of Christmas

In keeping with tradition, ABC Family is looking to harness the holiday viewing masses with its largest annual marketing effort -- a multifaceted campaign surrounding its 25 Days of Christmas programming event.

As with last year’s marketing campaign, ABC Family is running in-store promotions, this time partnering with gift-card company American Greetings and featuring posters and gift-with-purchase giveaways of ABC Family 2007 holiday planners. This year’s promotion has been expanded to 290 stores.

The ninth-annual version of the stunt will run Dec. 1-25, offering more than 200 hours of mixed content.

ABC Family is also sponsoring Santa stations in 43 Simon Malls locations, with poster placement near the line where kids and parents are waiting to see Santa, free giveaways of scented Santa ornaments and a 30-minute video loop of its holiday fare.

And the network is taking its message outdoors, with banners placed at 200 Christmas-tree lots in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as branded hat-and-scarf-clad street teams positioned at select lots in the top-five markets to distribute branded hand warmers and programming guides.

ABC Family also continues tried-and-true methods of poster placement in the top 10 markets, as well as billboards in Los Angeles and New York, including a construction bridge unit.

Elsewhere, the network secured 30-second ad spots in movie theaters; made a buy with Netflix targeting people who like Christmas movies; reserved space on the new LCD advertising panels in the New York subway system; scheduled radio spots throughout December, purchased network and spot cable ads; fashioned print ads in various publications; and placed posters in more than 12,000 post offices.

It is also employing an online campaign on AmericanGreetings.com, among other Web sites, through which users can send out 25 Days of Christmas greeting cards. In the interactive realm, the network is featuring Snowball Fight, which can be played through select partner sites, and a Snowboarding Santa game, accessible through online banner ads.

The ABC Family Web site, meanwhile, was refreshed with a redesign, including video previews, gift cards, screen-savers and the 25 Days of Christmas sweepstakes -- a chance to win $25,000.

With expanded marketing efforts comes expanded programming. This year’s rendition of 25 Days of Christmas will blend time-tested holiday classics with new originals and premieres.

Among newly acquired content are the Harry Potter movies, kicking off Dec. 1 with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and continuing through the weekend with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The titles are complemented with behind-the-scenes interviews, bonus footage and deleted scenes, plus a sneak peak at Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Another acquired asset: the Dec. 8 basic-cable premiere of The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks.

On the original side, ABC Family has a pair of telepics on its list: Santa Baby (premiering Dec. 10), starring Jenny McCarthy as the daughter of Santa Claus who must fill in for the ailing gifter; and Christmas Do-Over (Dec. 16) -- which might be tagged Groundhog Day meets Scrooged -- starring Jay Mohr (Jerry Maguire) and Daphne Zuniga (the network’s Beautiful People).

ABC Family will air weekend marathons of Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, The Story of the First Christmas Snow, Pinocchio’s Christmas, Jack Frost, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and The Year Without a Santa Claus.

Other traditional fare includes Dickensian tributes Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, and Chasing Christmas, with Tom Arnold, as well as Jim Carrey’s take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas and animated Dr. Seuss classics The Cat in the Hat and Seuss on the Loose.