According to Mitch Fried, Comedy Central's VP-promotion marketing, his otherwise-funny network is getting serious about fast food. It has brokered a three-way cross-promotion deal with Arby's—a regular advertiser on the network—and Dreamworks SKG on the network for the Will Ferrell summer movie "The Anchorman."
"The studios come to Comedy Central to help them launch their comedies and action-adventure films," said Fried. "'Anchorman' will be the big release of the summer, so what we are doing for them is stuff on-air, off-channel, online. We are… bringing it to another level."
The network will produce promotional programming for the movie on the half-hour "Reel Comedy" specials. "Reel Comedy: Anchorman" airs Saturday, July 3. It is also creating newsletters to be distributed throughout Arby's restaurants from June 25 to July 3.
"Anchorman" opens July 8. The newsletter, "Reel Comedy News," will be on display in 3,400 franchises and will contain the movie-release date, a tune-in message for "Reel Comedy: Anchorman" on the cover, a movie poster of Will Ferrell as "Anchorman" Ron Burgundy; and behind-the-scenes information about the movie. The newsletter will also feature Arby's New Market Fresh Chicken Salad sandwich on the back cover. More than 1 million newsletters will be distributed during this eight-day in-restaurant promotion.
Comedy Central produced similar newsletters last year for "Stuck on You," which were distributed in movie theaters.
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% Fried says the programs are "added-value opportunities" that movie studios don't pay for—the programs are used to sweeten the pot in movie media buys on the network. Arby's is producing the newsletter, Dreamworks provides the talent and the movie clips for the special and Comedy Central produces the programs and the artwork on the newsletter.
The special will be a mockumentary featuring the stars of "Anchorman" in character, Ferrell as Burgundy, with Christina Applegate and Paul Rudd. But Fried is most excited about the newsletter, which he sees as the first step in doing adult merchandising at fast feeders.
"Usually these promotions are all about [kids] getting a little Disney toy."