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Travel Campaign Delivers the Unexpected

Travel Channel this week launches its most aggressive marketing campaign to date, a two-phased approach designed to both reinforce the network's brand and drive tune-in for the new seriesTravel Channel Secrets.

The first television spots broke on Travel last week, and will resurface this week with a mix of national cable-network, DirecTV Inc. and local spot-television buys, said Discovery Networks U.S. vice president of advertising and promotions Valerie Grady.

"This is the largest initiative Travel Channel has done, in terms of off-air marketing," said Grady. The 10-week, multimillion-dollar effort runs through the fourth quarter.

The ads, which employ the tagline, "Bringing there, here," are designed to depict Travel Channel as a window on the world.

"We're trying to convey what it is that's entertaining about travel, what makes people feel good about travel," Grady said.

The first TV spot was shot in August, at a tomato festival in a Spanish town.

"It was a lucky quirk of fate that night as we were going into production, the tomato festival happened to be taking place," Grady said. Rooftop-mounted cameras captured the wild activity.

Another TV spot depicted tourists golfing in the shadows of the Egyptian pyramids.

"That's one of those 'Oh, wow!'moments," Grady said. "Capturing those moments was both fun and challenging."

Grady hopes the ads will be startling enough to get viewers to stop what they're doing and watch. She also expects them to conjure the same visceral reaction that people get from positive travel experiences.

The ads are backed by a print campaign that will run in travel-affinity publications and print guides.

Because print pieces were designed to appear in an environment that contains lots of beautiful travel photography, Travel Channel needed to try something out of the ordinary.

"To break through the clutter, we had to be a bit unexpected," Grady said. "These were deliberately designed to be eye-catching images, to provide a cause for pause as readers flip through the magazine."

One print ad depicts a row of tiny "hotel tubes" in Japan. Upon seeing it, Grady's first reaction was to ask if she was looking at a picture of a prison.

"Talk about stopping power," she said. "It made me curious."

The other print pieces are also intended to make readers stop and look, with the goal of drawing them to the corresponding copy, which reinforces the network's brand positioning.

The campaign is targeted to both current Travel Channel viewers and those who rarely or never watch the network.

"When there's so much entertainment choice out in the marketplace, it's important to both engage folks who watch you and invite new people into the fold," Grady said.