May 14, 2012 8:00am PT by Marisa Guthrie
A&E Muscles Into Movie Theaters with 'Storage Wars: Summer Lockbuster' Promo (Exclusive Video)
A&E joins the summer movie blockbuster onslaught with a big-budget (relatively speaking) film of its own – a 70-second promo for the third season premiere of Storage Wars on June 5.
The spot – billed as Storage Wars: Summer Lockbuster – was conceived by A&E’s in-house marketing team and creative agency BLT as a send-up of the shoot-‘em-up genre complete with a monkey as Storage Wars star Barry Weiss’ wingman.
The spot will run in front of summer movies in 19,000 theaters. It will being airing across A&E networks on May 15 and also will be part of a significant media buy on cable, broadcast and digital as well as extensive outdoor advertising including a Storage Wars pop-up experience in locations in Chicago (May 31), New York (June 4) and Los Angeles (June 11 and 13).
“We’re trying to tap into the whole blockbuster movie event,” says Guy Slattery, senior vp, marketing, A&E and BIO. “There are lots of shows in this space. But the characters on this show are really larger than life.”
Storage Wars is A&E’s top-rated unscripted series pulling in 4.6 million viewers an episode last season. Slattery would not reveal a price tag for the promo, but he said it is A&E’s most extensive marketing campaign of the year. The spot was filmed over two days last month in the sweltering California City desert.
A&E also will roll out a Storage Wars second screen synchronized app that will let viewers test their bidding skills along with the show's cast. In a twist on the fantasy sports league trend, users can also align themselves with the show's bidders for bragging rights on a leaderboard as well as cash.
The monkey is actually a five-year-old chimpanzee named Billy. He has an extensive resume including Career Builders’ Super Bowl commercial, Rise of Planet of the Apes and a Steven Tyler music video. And Billy follows in a great tradition of primate second bananas including Clint Eastwood’s companion Clyde in the Any Which Way But Loose movies.
Said Slattery: "We just felt you couldn’t make a good action movie without a monkey."