Turner's 'Toonami' Tour Gets Rolling

Pleased with the results from its affiliates last year, Turner Network Sales has launched its second "Toonami Mobile Game Unit Tour."

Tied into Cartoon Network's popular afternoon anime programming block, which runs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the tour will make 44 local stops, including 24 return trips from last year, from now through early September.

That's down from 63 markets last year, and should prove to be a more manageable itinerary, according to vice president of local ad sales Jerry Ware.

Going mobile

In another lesson learned, Ware said the tour will focus on the weekends during the remainder of the school term as a way to increase attendance among its target — boys aged 12 to 17 — and then continue into the rest of the week during the summertime.

Adelphia Communications Corp.'s Los Angeles system — the tour's affiliate partner for the initial stop Friday, April 25 — will also be home to the mobile unit's final appearance on Sept. 7, Ware said. Adelphia officials could not be reached by press time for additional comment.

Cartoon's mobile unit consists of a Chevy Suburban and trailer. The vehicles haul equipment to set up an exhibit area that contains four game stations, consisting of display monitors and a stereo sound system.

One of the stations will feature a made-for-Toonami game called "Tunnel Rush." The youngsters can compete for such prizes as watches, tote bags and T-shirts, according to Ware.

Retail roll-up

Last year, electronics outlets were the tour's most frequent local sponsors and destination sites, as might be expected given Toonami's core audience. Charter Communications Inc.'s Birmingham, Ala., system signed retailer Replays for the promotion, and used that entry to secure an annual buy.

Comcast's Albuquerque, N.M., interconnect sold Baillo's Electronics. In addition, The Coca-Cola Co. sampled product at the event, which attracted some 300 attendees.

General and apparel retailers were another strong category, and a likely fit as most of the tours were set up in strip malls, said Ware.

Conversely, the tour also attracted some unlikely partners last year. For instance, AT&T Broadband's Seattle system (now owned by Comcast Corp.) sold an Ikea furniture store, according to Ware.

Ware said he could not offer a dollar estimate as to the local-sales impact of the Toonami tour, since many affiliates won't divulge that information.

Participating affiliates will each get from TNS a taggable cross-channel promotion spot (which they must run at least 200 times), 10 customized posters, customized ad slicks and flyers.