FYI 05.08.08

Logo Makes It to B'way, Pop-Tarts Tours With 'Idol' and Gospel Music Channel Adds Royal Caribbean to 'Dream'

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After 130 diverse marketing partners, MTV Networks' LGBT-targeted cabler Logo is finally making its maiden voyage to Broadway. The network partnered with American Express this week to promote the Broadway debut of the Elton John-scored "Billy Elliot the Musical," which hits the Great White Way in September.
Logo: Billy Elliot the Musical


Lisa Sherman, exec VP-general manager of Logo, said the network aims to defy stereotypes in its marketing partnerships, so the criteria for forging its first Broadway foray were very high. "It's a deal that really marries the core brand attributes of American Express and Logo and proves that being both a Logo viewer and an American Express card member means getting the best in LGBT entertainment."

The spots will air through June during the network's broadcasts of "Billy Elliot," the British film that inspired the musical, and will feature interviews with Elton John and the three young performers who play Billy in the musical. American Express is the sole sponsor of each broadcast. "'Billy Elliot' is a film that we've acquired from the beginning, and speaks to the journey that gay people are on in so many ways. With Elton John's connection to it, for so many reasons it just seemed to be natural."

Logo has been on something of a branded-entertainment roll as of late, with marketers such as Stoli, Cadillac and Levi's creating custom ad content for the network in the past year. -- Andrew Hampp
Gospel Music Channel has signed Royal Caribbean International cruise line as its first fully integrated sponsor for "Gospel Dream 2008," its "American Idol"-esque singing competition. The winner of the five-part series will receive a recording contract and a free Royal Caribbean cruise for two. A consumer sweepstakes will accompany the deal as well, giving one fan the opportunity to win a cruise as well. "Gospel Dream 2008" premieres June 1 and will air for five weeks.

The deal coincides with the appointment of Mary Jeanne Cavanagh as the network's new exec VP-ad sales. She joins from Oxygen, where she served as the women's net's head of sales up through its recent acquisition by NBC Universal. She described the gospel/Christian music network, currently in 40 million homes, as "a brand on the verge of greatness," citing a top-rated engagement study by Jack Myers as proof of its growing popularity with its target demo of adults 18 to 49. The network is expected to finish the year with distribution in 45 million homes, and will be Nielsen-rated beginning in fourth quarter. -- Andrew Hampp
Some product tie-ins are just too easy. Kellogg's Pop-Tarts have sponsored the "American Idol" tour for all seven years the hit program has taken its 10 finalists on a summer tour. Etienne Patout, director, Pop-Tarts toaster pastries, said the company's activations around the event have changed from year to year. Some years, Kellogg has held karaoke contests at the venues, and has sometimes used the summer weather as a way to get "Idol" fans to try their packaged pastries frozen.

Starcom Entertainment is producing the tour on the Kellogg side, coordinating messaging and content. Leo Burnett is Kellogg's creative agency. Acerbic "Idol" judge Simon Fuller's company, 19 Entertainment, owns the rights to the tour, which is promoted by AEG Live.

Kellogg has provided the 10 finalists with vintage-inspired Pop-Tarts t-shirts in years past, and has been pleased with the number of divas who have deigned to don the swag onstage and for photos. Many of the popular singers, it turns out, are also fond of Kellogg's iconic confection.

This year's on-site promotional events have yet to be determined Mr. Patout said. The big change for this tour will be that Pop-Tarts customers will have first dibs on concert tickets, albeit through a narrow window. Starting May 13, Pop-Tarts boxes will have an on-package password for consumers to use at poptarts.com to purchase tickets. Ticketmaster gets hold of the seats on May 17.

The Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live tour begins in Glendale, Ariz., July 1 and concludes in Tulsa, Okla., Sept. 13. -- Emily Bryson York
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