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Advertisers are being pitched a unique yearlong promotional opportunity for the syndication launch of the hit sitcom "Friends."

The NBC series doesn't make its off-network debut until September 1998, but distributor Warner Bros. Domestic Television wants to give advertisers and agencies a long lead time to integrate the promo into marketing plans.

With "Friends" selling to stations for a reported record $600 million, Warner Bros. has decided to go all out to make sure the show is as popular in syndication as it has been on NBC.

"We've met with a number of advertisers here at NATPE, and the show is very ad friendly," said Julie Kantrowitz, senior VP-media sales for Warner Bros. Domestic Television. The National Association of Television Program Executives held its annual convention last week in New Orleans.

The promotion will revolve around the concept of friends and stress that in syndication the show will be seen every weekday, said Jim Moloshok, Warner Bros. senior VP-marketing and advertising.


The company is looking for eight to 10 advertisers to participate in the promotion. Target categories include fast-food, retail, auto, package goods and soft drinks.

Coca-Cola Co.'s Diet Coke has already done a major promotion with "Friends" on NBC, but the Warner executives declined to say whether they're talking to the soft-drink marketer about the syndication promotion.

Plans call for each advertiser to run its promotion during the time of year when it makes the most sense for that marketer.

In addition to individual efforts, Warner will create a bonus promotion at the launch of the show that will encompass all participating advertisers.

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