Dyed fountains highlight Showtime's 'Dexter' effort

LOS ANGELES: Spewing red water and wrapped in yellow police-style tape, some of the US' most visible fountains appeared to be the spots of grisly crime scenes last Thursday.

LOS ANGELES: Spewing red water and wrapped in yellow police-style tape, some of the US' most visible fountains appeared to be the spots of grisly crime scenes last Thursday.

In reality, they were reminders for viewers to watch Showtime Network's season premiere of Dexter.

To promote the show's second season, Showtime teamed with Pop2Life Creative Marketing & Promotion to dye water in fountains at 14 landmark locations, such as LA's Hollywood & Highland and Philadelphia's Love Park, and cordoned off surrounding areas with branded banner tape.

In some spots, custom fountains would be installed just for a day: In Times Square, for example, a 15-foot Dexter fountain appeared just as morning rush hour began. At all locations, forensic- coat-clad street teams were on hand to distribute Dexter DVDs.

But publicity efforts extended beyond shocking water exhibits.

"With the [TV] environment so crowded, you have to do lots of things" that work in concert, Showtime's EVP, corporate communications Rich Licata said. Because the media and viewers have embraced Dexter's "challenging material... the goal was to be aggressive with confidence."

The push began with a Dexter panel at the Television Critics Association in July, in which Showtime introduced new cast members and story lines. The network also distributed advance copies of the first four episodes to entertainment journalists in top-tier markets. A 25-city satellite tour with Dexter star Michael Hall was also coordinated.

To reach young viewers, the network was "very aggressive" with outreach to bloggers, Licata said, providing them with exclusive photos and online-only content.

Showtime is also working to connect multicultural audiences with Dexter, he added. Cast diversity has made it appealing to African-American, Asian, and Latino publications.

Dexter, which began September 30, follows the pursuits of Dexter Morgan, a police blood-splatter analyst and vigilante serial killer.

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