After a sluggish TV Upfront season, CBS (NYSE: CBS) is hoping to generate some excitement around its fall season by promoting its shows with a special magazine insert that plays video clips, the network announced at a morning press conference. CBS partnered with Omnicom shop OMD’s Ignition Factory to create the promotion, which also ties in Pepsi Max and Time Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly, which will run the inserts within its pages.
When EW readers open the insert, an introductory video begins runs automatically. The insert comes with five buttons, that will show a collective 40 minutes of video clips. The promotion starts in the Sept. 18th issue and represents what George Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group, said is an evolution in the way the network tries to entice viewers to its programming.
— The old way: Schweitzer began the presentation by holding up an old TV Guide to demonstrate how things used to work. “If you took an ad in TV Guide, people watched your program. Not anymore. After that, we got into sweepstakes and partnered with Kmart. We then tried to find people where they worked and played, putting promotions on dry cleaning hangers and bags. CBS branded eggs with the names of shows printed on 35 million shells distributed in grocery stores. About 90 percent of people will say they heard about a new program on TV. People want to see scenes of the show, they like trailers.”
— Limited, for now: Despite the emphasis on this new kind of promotion and his tongue-in-cheek pronouncement that they’re going to save the print industry with video, the video mag insert will be limited to EW only, Schweitzer told me afterward. Schweitzer told me that cost wasn’t the issue in the decision not to extend the video insert to other magazines. “We think this is a special and wanted to keep the promotion tightly focused.” For the most part, the video mag insert is certainly a way to capture some attention now before everyone else starts doing. Plus, CBS wants to determine if it captures consumers attention and translates into some ratings wins for its Monday night comedies. Specifically, the clips feature returning series How I Met Your Mother, Two And A Half Men, and a preview of the new comedy called Accidentally On Purpose. The insert also includes brief scenes from dramas NCIS: LA, The Good Wife and Three Rivers.