Now Your Oscar-Themed Ad Is Relevant All Year Long

ReelzChannel Hopes AmEx, Other Big Spenders Will Be Drawn to New Awards-Show Initiative

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NEW YORK -- Can't wait till February to get your campaign for this year's Academy Awards started?

Aymon DeMauro, ReelzChannel's senior VP-ad sales, says his network's plan to provide award show coverage year-round will give marketers a chance to build closer relationships with an audience of Hollywood-philes.

ReelzChannel is about to provide a new platform to keep any awards-related brand association going year-round. During this year's Toronto Film Festival, the year-old cable network will launch a new programming initiative, "Awards Watch," which will offer year-round coverage dedicated to the movie-awards and festivals circuit. In addition to three Academy Awards specials, other editions of "Awards Watch" are planned to be tied around holiday movies, the Golden Globes and the award shows put on by the guilds representing producers, directors and writers.

Helping extend relationships
"Typically, if you're a Golden Globes or Academy Awards sponsor, you had a slot for a month or an evening, depending on what you put behind it," said Aymon DeMauro, ReelzChannel's senior VP-ad sales. "Now you can exploit that relationship over a longer period of time in a way so it's relevant to our constituents."

Launched last September in 28 million homes (a record opening for a cable/satellite channel), ReelzChannel has quickly established itself as a TV destination for movies and the people who love and work for them. It's kind of like a TV version of Variety, but with a tad less use of insider jargon such as "preem" and "10-percentary."

As the Hollywood-philes trickle in, so do the marketers. Mr. DeMauro has been working with advertisers such as Discovery's TLC and Diet Coke to fashion branded interstitials specifically geared toward ReelzChannel programming. In the case of TLC, the channel co-created a series of 30-second spots called "Life's Lessons" that compiled humorous clips from classic movies and tied them into the core brands of both TLC and Reelz. Mr. DeMauro has also been aggressively getting the nascent network's name out in the marketplace, having booked over 80 meetings with agencies and clients during upfront season.

"Initially, when we started, we anticipated the challenges of what it means to be a new, unrated network," Mr. DeMauro said. "But we've worked around those and are very happy in terms of the traction we've gained in the marketplace."

Luring big spenders
To that end, the next step is luring the big TV spenders of awards season and helping them craft content specific to the ReelzChannel. Mr. DeMauro gave the example of American Express, which could use its sponsorship of the Tribeca Film Festival to create interstitials starring festival founder Robert DeNiro. Not that the participating advertisers absolutely have to be attached to an awards show, either.

"There's advertisers who might get locked out of the Academy Awards but might get into the Golden Globes," he said. "We're going to wherever the close-hanging fruit is."
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