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Alan Cohen knows it's not easy to launch a prime-time TV season-especially when your network is floundering in third place. So last fall, the senior VP-marketing of NBC came up with a promotional strategy that had some real "snap, crackle and pop."

To launch NBC's new season and generate sampling for its new shows, Mr. Cohen, 37, orchestrated a promotion that tied NBC programs to Kellogg Co. cereals.

The promotional event is believed to be the largest in network TV history, involving about $200 million in promotional and advertising spending by NBC and Kellogg. It kicked off with a consumer sweepstakes dubbed "NBC and Kellogg's Trips Around the World."

The sweepstakes promotion contributed to strong launches for NBC's new series, which had a 38% ratings increase over its new shows during the fall launch of the 1992-93 TV season.

The NBC program picked up even more steam in late September as 125 million boxes of Kellogg's cereal brands hit grocery aisles festooned with stars of NBC's top-rated returning series, including "Seinfeld," "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

The co-branding strategy was to generate maximum awareness, says Mr. Cohen, and it generated a combined total impressions of 3.6 billion and increasing ratings for the NBC shows and sales for the Kellogg brands.

He says the only problem is figuring out a way to follow it.

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