Souping Up 'Seinfeld’

Sixteen years after debuting on NBC, Seinfeld is still master of the comedy domain, Sony Pictures Television believes. SPT has spent upwards of $1 million for a set of 180 new episodic promo spots for the show, a unique strategy given that Seinfeld is now in its 10th season in syndication. An SPT spokesperson says it’s the first time such a strategy has been employed for a show in its third cycle.

SPT Senior VP of Marketing Alan Daniels tasked Los Angeles-based Lynne Lussier Productions with producing promos to make the show appear fresh enough to draw new viewers. “When you have a franchise like Seinfeld, you have to keep the promos fresh so they will feel contemporary and the show will look contemporary,” Daniels says. “As much as I love the first promos we did in 1995, they just wouldn’t hold up today.”

Sony called on Seinfeld alum John O’Hurley to voice many of the spots. Before he was on Dancing With the Stars and prepping to host Family Feud, O’Hurley was known as the adjective-spewing J. Peterman on Seinfeld. The campaign focuses on the best comedic moments of each episode, which is in contrast to the last set of promos (released three years ago) that focused on “Seinfeldisms”: phrases like “No soup for you!” and “Yada, yada, yada” that the show contributed to pop culture.

“Our goal this time is just to remind people how funny this show is,” says Daniels.

The entire promotional campaign is available in high-definition when the stations begin to need them, and SPT is prepping all 180 episodes for HD as well.

Despite its age, Seinfeld regularly places first in all of syndication among adults 18-34 and 18-49. It is still the second-rated sitcom in syndication, trailing only Everybody Loves Raymond, and the fifth-highest strip in all of syndication, behind Wheel of Fortune, Oprah, Jeopardy! and Raymond.

The show is averaging a 5.5 household rating season-to-date, which is off 8% from the same time last year, not surprising given the length of its run.

SPT is also continuing to support the third syndication season for The King of Queens, with elements that include promos in HD and co-op advertising. King’s network run on CBS may be coming to an end this year.