TLC Rides Express Train to Summer

Network partners with Amtrak, Zappos, others to promote full slate of summer programming

TLC is rolling out everything from trains to flip-flops as part of its campaign promoting summer programming. The network has formed several partnerships to supplement its media spending to support a summer schedule of nine returning series, 11 new series and 19 specials. Partners run from Amtrak to Zappos.

“As we kicked off the campaign, we wanted to jump start it with a media push,” says Tom Carr, senior VP of marketing at TLC. “But then what we’re trying to do is use these partnerships as a way for us to extend our message Memorial Day through Labor Day.”

Next month’s promotion combines choochoo trains with cupcakes as the network wraps Amtrak cars in the Eastern Corridor with images from Cake Boss. Recipes from TLC will be distributed in Amtrak stations. Earlier this year as part of the partnership, baker Buddy Valastro created a special cake for National Train Day on May 8. The presentation of the cake will be a part of the Aug. 16 episode.

Another cool promotion involves giving away TLC-branded flip-flops to customers of online shoe retailer Zappos. The promotion was tagged on the air by TLC and online by both partners.

TLC branding has also been splashed across the lazy rivers at Six Flags water parks. And the network has made a deal with hot social networking site Foursquare to provide TLC badges to users who visit locations such as bakeries, cupcake shops and barbecue joints.