New Shows Get Cross-Platform Promo Treatment

Gonee are the days when you could figure out how to promote a new TV show in seconds—meaning, by cutting spots lasting 10, 15, 20 and 30 seconds. Today, TV marketers’ efforts must by necessity cover a range of platforms, from social media to diginets to mobile offerings.

As syndicators prepare to launch their new fall shows—from Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT) Queen Latifah to Warner Bros.’ Bethenny to CBS Television Distribution’s (CTD) The Arsenio Hall Show—they are taking their efforts far beyond the traditional TV promo. However, they still are creating those too, of course.

Veteran shows such as SPT’s Dr. Oz and Debmar- Mercury’s Wendy Williams, both renewed through 2016-17, also are taking advantage of new promotional platforms, creating apps and viral videos. These were popular subjects as syndicators met with stations at the PromaxBDA Station Summit in Las Vegas June 24-27 to present their fall promo strategies.

Bethenny, starring Bethenny Frankel, aired last summer in a successful test on six Fox-owned stations. The show will premiere in national syndication on Sept. 9. Leading up to that, Warner Bros. is making a 30-minute preview show— highlighting popular segments from last summer’s test—available to all of its affiliates, which they can air any time through July and August, says Blake Bryant, senior VP of marketing for Warner Bros.’ Telepictures division.

Frankel, who boasts 1.2 million Twitter followers and 850,000 Facebook fans, is headed out on a national media tour this summer, where she’ll meet station executives and fans in local markets. During that tour, Warner Bros. will also conduct a contest for the show’s biggest fans. The winners, who Warner Bros. calls “brand ambassadors,” will be invited to be in the audience in New York.

Frankel is expected to announce the tour during a July 9 appearance on Wendy Williams. The two talk stars will appear together in spots that will be available to stations that run both shows. Meantime, Warner Bros. has already delivered a series of spots to affiliates, set to the beat of Bethenny’s theme song, “Calling All My Girls.”

Wendy Williams is experiencing a growth spurt, and Debmar-Mercury is capitalizing on that by keeping the show in production through July 26. Once the show finally wraps for the summer, Debmar is ready with a promo campaign featuring a two-minute music video set to Williams’ signature song, “Feel It.” In the promo, a group of dancers perform in Central Park, with Williams popping up in the middle and joining the party.

The entire two-minute video can play on TV stations’ websites or on YouTube, while Debmar also is cutting it down into smaller promos, says Adam Lewis, Debmar-Mercury VP of marketing.

Getting Everybody Buzzing

SPT also is promoting two launches this fall: Queen Latifah as well as off-network sitcom Community, which has 84 episodes set to air on TV stations and on Comedy Central; reruns of the series already appear on Hulu.

For Latifah’s promo campaign, Sony is using the tagline “Cue the …,” with “cue” serving as a play on Q for Queen, and then adding various words to the end of the phrase, such as fun, heart and music. The overall promise of the show is that it’s going to be fun, says Sheraton Kalouria, SPT chief marketing officer.

SPT’s promos are designed to showcase Latifah, who is a “friendly, relatable, warm, person,” says Kalouria. Latifah will premiere Sept. 16.

SPT is also dedicating some energy to Dr. Oz, which is heading into its fifth season. This summer, SPT will air a promo campaign around Oz titled “Everybody’s Buzzing,” focusing on the show’s social media activity. SPT this fall will launch a Dr. Oz app for iPad and iPhone that will serve as a companion product to the show. “Engaging with Dr. Oz is something that you can do to have a better life,” says Kalouria.

NBCUniversal’s summer promo goal is to keep up the momentum for Steve Harvey, last season’s breakout syndie rookie.

“We are really excited about the brand-new promo campaign that we shot in Chicago, both on-set and out of the studio around the city,” says Donna Mills, NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution senior VP of marketing. “The spots are high-energy and highlight Steve’s relatable and funny personality.”

Meanwhile, CTD is prepping the next phase of its promotional campaign for Arsenio Hall. The syndicator got a big head start last December when it began airing a long promo called “The Woof Man.”

“That’s the earliest we’ve ever gone out, and I’m sure we took everyone by surprise,” says Mike Mischler, CTD executive VP of marketing.

Coming up next, CTD will start airing spots intended to reintroduce Hall to viewers. Adds Mischler: “We’ve got to get everyone who knew him before to watch him again.”

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.