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CMT Puts Pedal to the Metal for 'Dale’ Flick

CMT is gassing up the marketing machine for its original film on NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, with the largest promotional campaign in the MTV Networks channel’s history.

Even the scheduling of the film Dale will be remarkable, according to CMT, which is positioning the film as a “landmark event.”

The feature, narrated by actor and race fan Paul Newman and produced by NASCAR Images’ Jay Abraham and Jim Jorden in partnership with CMT Films, debuts Tuesday, Sept. 4, with primetime showings the following two nights.

These will be the only television cablecasts until the film’s DVD release. The film has had theatrical exposure, via screenings held in February in cities hosting NASCAR Nextel Cup events.

The network will get the word out on the film with complementary programming on CMT and digital spinoff CMT Pure Country ahead of the debut.

Included will be movie clips in CMT’s weekly entertainment news show CMT Insider and CMT Top 20 Countdown.

Several NASCAR specials are also in the programming mix, including reprises of Greatest NASCAR Comebacks and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special.

In the week prior to the telecast, CMT sibling networks, including VH1, Spike, TV Land, Nick at Nite and The N will schedule cross-promotional spots in order to draw in audiences that are compatible with, but different from CMT’s core audience.

Most of CMT’s own promotional time will be devoted to this movie.

The channel also has created an “official Dale Web site,” www.dale.cmt.com, with photo galleries, video clips, the movie trailer and a link to an Earnhardt merchandising site. CMT Loaded, CMT.com’s broadband channel, will stream specials on the racer, a behind-the-scenes featurette on the film itself and on a music video off-shoot.

Programming similar to the broadband material was made available in August for local affiliates for inclusion on their video-on-demand platforms.

A related promotion, targeting radio stations and supporting CMT’s ancillary business, surrounds the release of the film’s soundtrack. The theme from the movie “Looking for a Road” by newcomer Brent Keith, has been released to 650 country radio stations across the country. That cut is featured on the soundtrack along with songs from Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Brooks & Dunn, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motley Crue, Travis Tritt and others.

A special on the soundtrack, Looking for a Road: The Dale Soundtrack, was broadcast on 150 CMT Radio affiliates last week.

Print advertisements for the movie will appear in top entertainment and consumer publications, including USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, National Enquirer and NASCAR publications.

CMT has created an 8-page “fanzine” to be included in American Profile, an 8-million circulation Sunday circular. A second, stand-alone insert, “CMT Life Set to Music,” will feature the film on its cover and be mailed to 250,000 core CMT households.

This will be CMT Films’ second release. The first, Broken Bridges starring Toby Keith, debuted in theaters last September, migrating to the cable network in December. The January DVD release shipped more than 1 million units, according to CMT.