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Cartoon Tweaks 'Trick-or-Treat'

Cartoon Network, joining forces with Turner Network Sales for the second year of the annual "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" promotion, this time will use the Codename: Kids Next Door
to get youngsters more involved in that fundraiser at their schools.

Cartoon vice president of trade marketing Tom Alexander said the network decided that the Kids
series, about "a band of kids representing a multicultural cross-section, going on missions," meshed nicely with the Trick-or-Treat campaign's teamwork concept.

Last year, Cartoon's customizable public-service announcements featured characters from several series.

In the upcoming taggable PSAs, characters from Kids
— the network's top-rated original series — will urge viewers to talk with teachers and parents about supporting UNICEF.

In another change, Cartoon — which indicated that the UNICEF promotion to date has raised more than $118 million for food, medicine and education in the developing world — is helping the organization push further into the educational sector by moving beyond in-school posters to adding a curriculum-based K-12 program.

Forty-six percent of the funds raised in the familiar orange Trick-or-Treat donation boxes last year came from schools, said Cartoon marketing manager Nicole Hall.

To reach the educators, Cartoon will advertise in Cable in the Classroom's magazine and on the Turner Learning Web site, she added.

Various retailers also help distribute the orange boxes, though they don't collect donations, she said. IKEA, Pier 1 Imports, Sears Portrait Studios and Coinstar, whose machines are found in thousands of supermarkets, have renewed, and each is featured in Cartoon's PSA tags.

In addition, Procter & Gamble Co., which has contributed more than $2 million to the cause over the last few years, will in October bolster awareness of the Halloween-themed fundraiser via Sunday newspaper-ad inserts.

Cartoon is the official television partner in the UNICEF effort, but its sister Turner Broadcasting System Inc. networks will assist by running cross-channel spots for the fundraiser as well, Alexander said.

TNS vice president of network marketing and operations Heather Baldino said 70 cable systems have signed up thus far for a tie-in affiliate promotion with public-service, marketing and local-ad-sales facets — up 46% from a year ago. The sign-up cutoff has been extended to Sept. 5, she said, to allow more time for customizing the PSAs, print ad slicks and other materials.

The cutoff date has been extended to Sept. 5, she said, to allow more time for customizing the PSAs, print ad slicks and other materials.

At press time, participants included systems owned by Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Adelphia Communications Corp. and Gans Communications.

Time Warner Cable is also involved, Baldino said, as its Cincinnati system plans to use the PSA, marketing and ad-sales components. Last year, Jiffy Lube was aboard as a local sponsor, according to a system spokeswoman.

The first 100 systems to run a minimum of 200 PSAs during the Sept. 29 to Oct. 31 promo window will get such Cartoon premiums as baseball caps, stickers, tattoos and 200 Trick-or-Treat bags, which Baldino said can be given out at the operators' local Halloween events.