PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Ketchum Chers in TV sitcom laughs

How do you drum up media interest for a soon-to-launch product when the airwaves are saturated with the election?

How do you drum up media interest for a soon-to-launch product when the airwaves are saturated with the election?

How do you drum up media interest for a soon-to-launch product when the airwaves are saturated with the election?

You could try hooking up with one of the hottest sitcoms on TV. That's what Ketchum's Los Angeles-based Mattel account team did as they brainstormed ideas for launching their client's new Cher doll.

Ketchum VP Ron Roecker and account supervisor Dimitri Czupylo decided to score sweeps week placement on TV sitcom Will & Grace. The team approached Ketchum Entertainment Marketing's Tom Freydl and Mark Malinowski, and with their help met with the show's creator and producer to craft a storyline incorporating the doll - and a guest appearance by Cher herself.

The resulting episode, which aired November 16, showcased the Cher doll throughout the show as an object of ridiculous adulation by Jack. The doll scores close-ups in several scenes, including one in which Jack seats her in a high chair at a restaurant.

Prior to airing, the Mattel account team and NBC's internal PR team, worked together to publicize the episode, pitching for coverage on such shows as the Rosie O'Donnell Show and Access Hollywood, as well as in People magazine.

Following the show, NBC offered a phone number for viewers to preorder a doll, which won't be on the shelves until April. The NBC media Web site posted product shots and product information for the Cher doll.

Ketchum even managed to turn this publicity coup into a morale-boosting exercise in internal employee relations. The team developed a 'Watch and Win' sweepstakes for Ketchum employees where the winner was flown to LA for a stay at the W Hotel and dinner with the Will & Grace cast.



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