VH1 guerrilla street effort makes mark with 'ET' fans

For the third outing of I Love the '80s, VH1 wanted to let fans know that there was still plenty of humor and wry quips left to squeeze out of the decade. The company also wanted to introduce viewers to the newest evolution of the series: 3D. "I love the '80's is a very important franchise for VH1," says Nigel Cox-Hagan, VH1 creative group and consumer marketing SVP. "We wanted to generate excitement and generate buzz."

For the third outing of I Love the '80s, VH1 wanted to let fans know that there was still plenty of humor and wry quips left to squeeze out of the decade. The company also wanted to introduce viewers to the newest evolution of the series: 3D. "I love the '80's is a very important franchise for VH1," says Nigel Cox-Hagan, VH1 creative group and consumer marketing SVP. "We wanted to generate excitement and generate buzz."

Strategy

VH1 worked with Universal Consulting Group (UCG) to stage a guerrilla street campaign in New York. "PR is becoming a growing part of experiential marketing," says Jeff Frumin, CEO of UCG. "I think that it's the viral PR that really gets people watching."
 
Tactics

Bike riders dressed as Elliot from the '80s classic film ET rode through Times Square, Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and Union Square. They wore red sweatshirts emblazoned with the I Love the '80s logo and handed out 3D glasses (the show contained 3D effects that could only be seen with the glasses).

VH1 also distributed 3D glasses in Best Buy stores.

"In this series, we were making a point of making it up-close and personal," Cox-Hagan says.

Media relations focused on the trade and consumer press. "At the end of the day, VH1 is interested in getting eyeballs," says David Gerzof, chief creative officer at UCG. "It doesn't matter if it's people on the street or people in the industry."

Results

Gerzof notes that the campaign yielded 1.5 million media impressions. Cox-Hagan calls the ratings "very successful," and notes that they grew throughout the week as the show aired. The show averaged a 0.63 rating in VH1's key 18 to 49 demographic, 59% higher than the fourth quarter 2005 to date.

Future

VH1 is continuing to work with UCG on projects for other franchises.

PR team: VH1 (New York) and Universal Consulting Group (Boston)

Campaign: ET  in 3D

Duration: October 2005

Budget: $5,000

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