'Dexter' promo to dye for

Fountains run red for Showtime

NEW YORK -- Showtime and creative marketing agency Pop2Life will be turning fountains red in 14 U.S. cities Thursday to promote the second season of Showtime's drama series "Dexter."

The network insists, however, that red was chosen because it is Showtime's corporate color and meant to get noticed and does not symbolize the blood spilled in the show about a blood-spatter expert for the Miami police who also happens to be a serial killer.

Fountains in New York's Times Square, at Hollywood & Highland as well as in Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Miami, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Phoenix will be dyed red from morning till night, and the sites will be cordoned off with branded banner tape to promote the premiere of "Dexter" on Sunday. Five of the 14 fountains are being custom-built for the promotion, including 12-foot fountains in Times Square and at Hollywood & Highland.

"We're not out there to frighten people," said George DeBolt, vp media and promotions at Showtime. "Red is an important color for the network. It's our corporate color. Whatever people take away from this is what they take away, but we're using the color red so that it's noticed.

" 'Dexter' is not a horror series," he added. "It's a series about a serial killer who happens to be in forensic police work. There is blood in the show, but we're not doing this to convey the notion of blood or horror because that would be off strategy with how we promote the show."

DeBolt said Showtime was unconcerned about any potential negative fallout from the promotion like that experienced by Cartoon Network in February. At that time, its guerrilla marketing campaign for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" turned into a daylong terrorism scare in Boston, with police suspecting that blinking boxes placed around the city by the network were bombs.

"We are following every legal and city government procedure," DeBolt said. "We filed all the necessary permits, and we're not doing anything the cities themselves do not know about. This will be branded 'Dexter' and 'Showtime' so people will know it's a promotional stunt."