[10/25/04 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Creates Multi-Million Dollar Advertising, Marketing and Publicity Campaign for Newest Drama Series 'Huff' Starring Hank Azaria

[via press release from Showtime]

Showtime Creates Multi-Million Dollar Advertising, Marketing and Publicity Campaign for Newest Drama Series 'HUFF' Starring Hank Azaria

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 -- Showtime Networks is pulling out all the stops to ensure television viewers make an appointment to see Dr. Craig Huffstodt on the new SHOWTIME series HUFF, premiering Sunday, November 7 at 10 PM (ET/PT). The 13-episode dramatic series is the story of Dr. Craig "Huff" Huffstodt, portrayed by four-time Emmy(R) Award-winner Hank Azaria, a family man and a successful psychiatrist who gets a wake-up call after a tragedy occurs with one of his patients. The series co-stars Paget Brewster, Anton Yelchin, Blythe Danner and Oliver Platt.

In an unprecedented move, the network will simultaneously air the premiere episode of HUFF on its multiplex channels SHOWTIME TOO and SHOWTIME SHOWCASE. SHOWTIME has also created a multimillion dollar advertising and marketing campaign consisting of national television, local radio, print advertising, extensive outdoor advertising and advertising on the web. It is estimated that the total campaign will generate over 525 million Adult 18-49 media impressions.


On the broadcast front, SHOWTIME will run advertising on the CBS Television Network as well as cable networks, including MTV, VH1, Nick at Nite, TV Land and Comedy Central. The media buy also includes local radio.


Print advertising will appear in national publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Us Weekly, People, In Touch Weekly, Vanity Fair, Jane, InStyle, Star and more. Additionally, premiere and tune-in ads for HUFF will run in the national TV Guide as well as TV supplements, cable trades and Hollywood trade publications such as Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. HUFF will also be supported via outdoor advertising, which will include bus shelters, bulletins and billboards in New York and Los Angeles.


The network will have aggressive advertising for HUFF on the internet through banner ads, e-mail blasts and strategic partnerships with MSN Video, eBay and others. Additionally, an interactive, video-intensive website dedicated exclusively to the show is being created. It will include episode synopses, video previews, tune-in information, behind-the-scenes bonuses, downloads and message boards. Text messages reminding viewers to tune in will be sent to anyone who registers for the service online.


HUFF will also receive a great deal of SHOWTIME on-air support. The network is currently airing a series of teaser and launch spots. Additionally, four character spots featuring Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, Paget Brewster and Blythe Danner have been created. Also, a 12 minute in-depth behind-the-scenes piece will give viewers a chance to see the story behind the story -- featuring interviews with the stars and actual scenes from the series. Following the pilot, SHOWTIME will air a two-minute preview of the next few shows.


As part of its major public relations campaign for the series, the network's publicity department held small, private screenings of the pilot for journalists and media influentials in April and May to build interest and buzz. SHOWTIME also presented the principal cast and series creator Bob Lowry to TV journalists at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in July and surprised everyone with an unprecedented second season renewal for the show four months before its November debut. Rather than sending a standard paper press kit to critics, the public relations department produced a four-color 60-page press book full of photos and information that was mailed along with a four-disc DVD set featuring an unusually high eight episodes for review. In addition, SHOWTIME screened the pilot of HUFF at the Chicago Film Festival and had Azaria work the festival's red carpet. The network will host lavish industry premiere screenings in New York and Los Angeles in the two weeks before the series launches, and recently arranged a press conference for Azaria with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that votes on the Golden Globe Awards.


The network has also joined forces with National Amusements for a sweepstakes in which the winners will receive tickets to a premiere screening of HUFF. The sweepstakes will be supported on screen in theaters and on the National Amusement website. A fact about Hank Azaria will also appear on a trivia slide in National Amusement theaters.


SHOWTIME is also working closely with its cable affiliates, including Adelphia, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and others, to co-promote the premiere of HUFF. Tactics include DRTV spots, radio spots, letter packages, interviews with HUFF talent in customer newsletters, HUFF screenings, affiliate incentives and more.

Charter Communications will support the series by running national tune- in, through a Showtime on Demand campaign which offers a chance to win a trip to visit the HUFF production set, and at retail. Tactics include a cross channel TV spot featuring a personalized invitation from Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt to tune in to be run in front of Charter's 1.1 million video on demand enabled homes, a postcard, retail signage, and a feature article in the Charter Zone e-newsletter which is sent to approximately 1.3 million Charter High Speed internet homes.

Comcast will support the new series with a number of tactics, including a 90-day SVOD sampling during the HUFF launch in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas. Comcast video clips and behind-the-scenes footage, along with a SHOWTIME sweepstakes will be available via the Comcast.net and Comcast.com web sites.

At Cox, HUFF will be featured in a "Net of the Month" promotion during November. Tactics will include a custom cross channel TV spot run nationally also with a call to action from Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt; a website promotion featuring streaming video of the Huff trailer; and on the cover of the Cox Cable Ready front line/consumer programming guide.

Time Warner Cable and SHOWTIME are partnering on a fourth quarter marketing campaign whose timing will support the premiere of HUFF. The campaign includes a co-branded Time Warner Cable/SHOWTIME and Showtime on Demand DRTV buy, with HUFF featured in the spot, along with additional cross channel support. HUFF is also included in Time Warner Cable's direct mail. Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey prominently featured HUFF in "DTV Views" magazine -- a direct mail piece sent to non-subscribers in October 2004 that includes a cover shot and an inside interview with Hank Azaria.

Additionally Huff is featured in a SHOWTIME fourth quarter acquisition campaign in which select systems of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Adelphia and Cox will participate. The campaign will be supported with direct mail, cross channel and various other tactics with an offer to order SHOWTIME and high speed internet and receive a free wireless mouse.


On the satellite front, DIRECTV, EchoStar's DISH Network and Voom will each offer a free preview weekend of the Showtime Unlimited package for their customers. This will make the HUFF premiere available to more than 21 million households.

DIRECTV will support the preview and premiere of HUFF with a variety of marketing tactics. They will also be hosting a promotion where new subscribers to Showtime Unlimited will receive a free DVD 3-pack. This promotion will run through November 30th. EchoStar's DISH Network will support the new SHOWTIME series in a fourth quarter campaign by offering a $50 gift card on a Samsung mobile phone at RadioShack when a consumer subscribes to SHOWTIME in time to see the series premiere of HUFF. The promotion and HUFF will be supported in RadioShack stores as well as via local advertising. In addition, DISH Networks' customers will also see a wide array of marketing tactics promoting HUFF and the offer. Voom will alert its consumers to the preview and HUFF premiere with an extensive marketing effort as well.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(R), SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM). SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL(R), which is a venture between NBC Universal, Robert Redford, and Showtime Networks Inc. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME(R) PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.

SOURCE Showtime
Web Site: http://www.SHO.com http://www.Sho.com/pressonline

  [october 2004]  


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