ABC PUTS SOME POP IN BRAND WITH U2'S HELP: NETWORK'S LATEST PROMO LINKUP WITH A BAND BENEFITS MAY SWEEPS

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ABC, in a branding alliance with the popular band U2, will label its on-air promotions with the slogan "ABC is POP" during April and the upcoming May sweeps period.

ABC will air a 1-hour special on the Irish rock band April 26, the day after the start of the band's tour to promote its new album, POP. Both the album and the POPMART tour combine elements of '70 kitsch and '90s technology.

"We want ABC to come alive, to be more exciting," said Alan Cohen, ABC's exec VP-marketing. "The band has said it's happy to have infiltrated a major U.S. TV network," he added with a laugh.

POP ICONS

ABC will adopt POP icons such as lava lamps for its on-air promotions. The spots will be done in a style reminiscent of MTV rather than traditional network TV.

"We wanted a younger look," Mr. Cohen said.

The campaign breaks April 8 with a 60-second promotional spot that highlights the network's major May sweeps programming, said Jim Vescera, senior VP-advertising and promotion for ABC Entertainment. Additional spots will run alongside the closing credits for ABC shows. Most ads are being created in-house.

ABC similarly branded itself "A Beatles C" for an earlier promotion tied to the network's airing of a multipart series on the Beatles in November 1995.

U2 music videos from the POP album will be used throughout the campaign. ABC has been airing specially made music videos as promotional tools for some time, including a Phil Collins video to promote "NYPD Blue" and a Sting ballad hyping "Relativity."

"This is the logical next step," Mr. Vescera said. "Pop culture is delivered by

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