Health Agency to Promote Active Lifestyles for 'Tweens'

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CLARIFICATION: This story was modified after publication by inclusion of what is now the third paragraph.

LOS ANGELES ( -- Viacom Plus, Viacom's corporate advertising selling division, said today it has inked a one-year agreement with the Centers for Disease Control.

"This is case study in cross-platform deals," said Lisa McCarthy, senior vice president of Viacom Plus. "[The CDC's agencies] said, 'We are going to give you almost all of our broadcast budget. How can we get creative?'"

But shortly after this story was published, Ms. McCarthy now said this quotation was incorrect. In terms of the CDC's budget, she said, "Saatchi [& Saatchi] and Zenith [Media Services] gave all media companies [a] fair shot at business. I think the strength of our brands, assets and ideas -- particularly given the demo -- allowed us to capture significant revenue."

Ms. McCarthy said the deal is truly integrated because it includes specific promotional and programming elements. Out of 30 deals Viacom made, only one focused on price, one it made with Revlon Inc. two years ago, where Viacom got an specific increase in ad spending in exchange for lower cost per thousands."

'Tween' demographic
Much of the government

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agency's campaign with Viacom -- which will center around cable channel Nickelodeon and its associated properties -- promotes an active and healthy lifestyle for children ages 9 to 14, the so-called "tweens" demographic. Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, is handling the CDC's creative, which will begin next month.

A variety of Viacom properties will receive paid advertising, or will be involved with promotional or programming efforts.

For example, the CDC will be the exclusive sponsor of a new weekly live action show on Nickelodeon called WACK, which stands for "Wild & Crazy Kids." MTV will see sponsorship on its MTV Rock & Jock specials, which feature actors and athletes in sporting events. CBS and Westwood One will have public service announcements featuring celebrities. BET and UPN will be used to target ethnic audiences. Viacom Outdoor will have a campaign in Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. Simon & Schuster will do custom printing of a fitness book. Blockbuster Video will do a nine-market, in-store monitor program.

Budget not disclosed
Ms. McCarthy will not comment on the terms and of advertising budgets for the deal, nor would see discuss the share each of the Viacom properties would receive. Media executives estimate the CDC deal to be worth $35 million, but a Saatchi spokesman said the figure is innacurate and that the CDC did not give Viacom almost all of its budget.

He said the CDC has done deals with four other media companies, AOL Time Warner, Walt Disney Co., Gruner & Jahr and Primedia. The spokesman would not comment on the amount of those deals but added the budget "wasn't spread equally" among the comapnies.

New revenue
The key for growth for cross-selling divisions at mega-media companies is finding new incremental advertising revenues. Mel Karmazin, president-COO of Viacom, has said it doesn't matter where revenue goes into the company -- as long as there is more revenue. In CDC's case, the money comes from a new budget.

Ms. McCarthey said that with exisitng advertisers, it's harder to determine if their cross-media deals are the result of new advertising dollars to the market or just an increased share of an existing budget. "The reality is you never know," she said.

Recently, Viacom Plus did a $15 million deal with Monster Inc. Viacom Plus is also attempting to renew its deal with Procter & Gamble Co., with which it signed a $300 million one-year deal last year.

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