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Comedy Central cranks up marketing

Comedy Central is taking its new Sunday night prank-call comedy, Crank
to the streets, or at least the information highway.

As part of its marketing plan for the show, which features puppets with
attitude placing calls in the vein of a cleaned up "Jerky Boys," the cable
channel has an ad campaign on Web spoof site that invites surfers to
place a free prank call to their friends.

The options are "Batman Information" and "Chinese Rapper," the latter a
rather broad caricature. The surfer fills in the name and e-mail of their
target, as well as their own, picks one of the two options and within seconds
(OK, we tried it out for the sake of journalistic accuracy) the recipient
receives the call featuring an excerpted prank call from the show followed by a
tune-in plug.

They also receive an e-mail that tells them they've been cranked, identifies
the culprit, plugs the show, gives them an opportunity to place their own crank
call, then ends with "Thanks for being a good sport," just in case anyone was
thinking about being a bad sport about it.