ABC Family Picks Up Promo Pace for Holidays

Traveling is a way of life for many during the holidays and is central to ABC Family's original movie Picking Up and Dropping Off.

Playing off that motif is also at the core of the nontraditional media the network is using to help support the film and its annual "25 Days of Christmas Programming" stunt this year.

ABC Family, which will air over 130 hours of holiday-themed series, movies and specials from Dec. 1-25, is backing Picking Up
and the other fare with in-flight commercials, airport signage and rental car tags, according to Regina DiMartino, senior vice president of marketing, advertising and promotion.

Those alternative means of reaching viewers come in addition to more traditional vehicles: spot and network radio, spot cable and such publications as Us Weekly, TV Guide, Soap Opera Digest, People
and the National Enquirer.

"We took the lead from Picking Up and Dropping Off. It's a contemporary love story starring Scott Wolf (Party of Five) and Lisa Kudrow (Friends) as two single parents who keep running into one another at the airport," said DiMartino. "It's that time of year: people are traveling back and forth and we think the media is well placed and will create a lot of brand awareness and tune-in."

ABC Family began generating exposure — some 8.7 million impressions — via 30-second spots touting Picking Up
on United Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways, America West and Delta Airlines planes during November.

Those on the run around the airport itself will also bear witness to ABC Family's efforts, via signage on concourses and baggage carousels at such portals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Burbank, Calif. DiMartino said that each ad in the split-signage flight — the first two weeks trumpet the film, the second two 25 Days — was expected to yield 2.8 million impressions.

Working with Budget Rent A Car, ABC Family is outfitting vehicles at 80 off-airport locations with two-sided mirror tags: one side promoting the film, the other the stunt. All told, the promotion with Budget is expected to create 3.2 million impressions from Nov. 24 through Christmas.

Elsewhere, ABC Family, for the second year, is integrating Verizon's "Test Man" character into its on-air campaign via network IDs, while AOL's "Running Man" icon will also turn up there. DiMartino said the latter throws a snowball that spins into the network's logo.

As for local ad sales-efforts, network executives said that over 300 affiliates, capable of reaching nearly 80 million subscribers, are participating this year. The sales campaign is expected to generate some $4 million in 2003.