The marketing campaign crafted by Vivi Zigler not only gave "Queer Eye" the exposure it needed to become a pop culture touchstone, but her work for it and another Bravo program, "Celebrity Poker," helped the cable network broaden its once arts-heavy audience niche.
"I believed in [`Queer Eye'] from the get-go,' says Ms. Zigler, who holds the title of senior VP-marketing and advertising services at both Bravo and the NBC Agency, the in-house marketing shop of Bravo parent NBC. She says the network levied its highest promotion budget at the time toward "Queer Eye." There was tune-in network radio, spot radio, local cable ads, and distinctive outdoor boards in New York and Los Angeles.
Gays were secondarily targeted with events such as sponsorship at New York's Gay Pride Parade, where the Fab 5 rode in Gay Pride-colored VWs; ads in Out and The Advocate; and street teams promoting the show. "It really resonated with the audience," says Ms. Zigler. "It's amazing. Callers talk about how life-affirming it is."
"Queer Eye" also caught the eye of General Electric Co.'s NBC, which had acquired Bravo in December 2003. NBC ran a "Queer Eye" special in prime time. "It was pure sampling," says Ms. Zigler, noting that the move brought more viewers to Bravo.
So, too, has "Celebrity Poker," which pits wits of celebrities in card-playing showdowns. Aware that selling audiences on poker-viewing might be a bit of a trick, Ms. Zigler worked with the producers to enhance the show with a retro Las Vegas "Rat Pack" feel via logo, music and campaign.
Under its new ownership, Bravo doesn't want to be known as the makeover channel or the arts channel. Instead, it wants to be "eclectic," she says, and in tune with popular culture.