How the Networks Are Scrambling to Persuade Viewers to Sample New Shows
"Last Man Standing," "Terra Nova," "Person of Interest" and "The Playboy Club" are among the shows employing creative stunts at the eleventh hour.
In addition to iTunes streaming (Fox's New Girl) and Facebook apps (the CW's The Secret Circle), the nets are turning to dry-cleaner boxes (CBS' How to Be a Gentleman), airline trays (ABC's Pan Am) and virtual photo shoots (NBC's Whitney). "This is Christmas for us," says CBS marketing group president George Schweitzer. Here's a look at some of the more creative stunts.
Revenge is a dish best served … on the jitney? Pilot scripts and beach towels for the Hamptons-based mystery drama were handed out to shuttle passengers headed to the East Coast hotspot during Labor Day weekend. Kindle users can download the scripts as well.
The CW is seeing double. The Sarah Michelle Gellar twins thriller is getting the word out in New York, L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco by disseminating teams of identical twins wearing shirts that read "I'm the evil twin" and "I'm the good twin." The pairs distribute "Make Mine a Double" shot glasses and mirrors that spell "truth" and "lies" in the reflection.
Person of Interest (CBS)
J.J. Abrams' surveillance drama is watching you. The series has interactive mirrorlike windows set up in New York and L.A. When pedestrians (aka potential viewers) stop, photos are taken and added to a "classified" file, along with a phone number and ID number for retrieval. From there, people are free to Facebook and tweet their photos.
Last Man Standing (ABC)
To capitalize on the Tim Allen comedy's "manly man" theme, the network is handing out barbecue chicken-scented Allen air fresheners at hardware stores, gyms and auto-parts stores. Football games will host show-themed food trucks and "man caves."
Terra Nova (Fox)
The Steven Spielberg-produced time-travel drama is on the move. Fox has commissioned a tricked-out bus -- complete with an interactive video booth, exclusive footage and an oxygen bar -- that is making stops at colleges, festivals and sporting events.
The Playboy Club (NBC)
NBC is inviting potential fans inside the Playboy Club. In this case, Bloomingdale's shoppers will get not only a chance to pose -- virtually, that is -- with the cast of the Amber Heard-led drama, but also an opportunity to win a walk-on role in the soapy series. As part of the network's multifaceted deal with the department store, its new shows will also be featured in store windows and catalogs.
2 Broke Girls (CBS)
CBS is getting caffeinated about its Kat Dennings diner comedy. In addition to branding cup sleeves at New York and L.A. coffee shops leading up to the show's bow, the network plans to give away free coffee on premiere day. Waitresses wearing 2 Broke Girls attire will pass around themed Zagat Guides for Cheap Eats, and Beth Behrs, who plays a Wharton grad on the show, will attend a pilot screening and Q&A at the Philadelphia business school.