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Fox Theatrical 'Ice Age' to Get Mammoth Push from Discovery

Just days before its premiere, the 20th Century-Fox animated movie Ice Age
will get a significant, two-night promotional assist from a pair of Discovery Networks U.S. services.

Discovery Channel will rerun Walking with Prehistoric Beasts
on March 13, dubbing its tie-in stunt as "Real Beasts of the Ice Age." Animal Planet will follow the next night with "A Night of Mammoth Fun," according to Discovery Channel executive director of advertising and promotion Mary Clare Baquet and Autonomy CEO Rick Scott.

Autonomy, a Los Angeles-based branding and design firm, produced the on-air wraparounds and other footage for both networks, all of which feature Ray Romano, star of Everybody Loves Raymond, as on-air host.

In the movie, which bows March 15, Romano is the voice of a wooly mammoth named Manfred. This marks the first time more than one service under the Discovery Networks umbrella will tie in with a motion picture, said Baquet.

Autonomy's Scott and on-air promotion creative director Kenneth Rhodes said Discovery's promotional approach will be "more scientific," while that of sister network Animal Planet's will be "more fun" and movie-centered.

Some of Romano's Discovery pieces will be lighthearted "mini-documentaries" — for instance, he'll relate a scene from the film in which the sloth character steps in dung to the importance of prehistoric dung to scientific research, Baquet explained.

Animal Planet will offer a two-minute preview clip, plus behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes and brief cast interviews. At one point, Romano even interviews his animated alter ego, Rhodes noted.

Most of the footage will run from 30 to 45 seconds, the executives said. After wrapping this stunt, they said, Romano headed to CBS to finish the season finale of Raymond.

Aside from the various on-air promos, Baquet said, the push will include a sweepstakes component and a retail presence.

Promotion of the cobranded Animal Planet/Discovery/20th Century-Fox "Dig It Sweepstakes" began last week with banners on the two networks' Web sites. Aside from the grand prize — a trip for four to The Mammoth Site in South Dakota, a working paleontological excavation — the contest offers 100 "Go Glacial with Ice Age"
video games for Nintendo Corp.'s Game Boy Advanced and 500 Ice Age-branded cooler bags.

Additionally, more than 150 Discovery Channel Stores last week began playing a three-minute video loop touting the cable stunt and the film on in-store TV monitors.

Discovery also is reviving the "Mammoth Munch" ice cream created by Kemp's Dairy for Raising the Mammoth; it'll now feature Ice Age

Discovery Networks has an ongoing agreement with 20th Century-Fox that had linked Discovery Channel with Planet of the Apes
and Behind Enemy Lines
last year, Baquet said. Animal Planet also tied in with Dr. Doolittle 2, she added.

Animal Planet conducted a similar effort in primetime with Cuba Gooding Jr. to plug Walt Disney Pictures's Snow Dogs
in mid-January.