CBS: "We're Saving the Print Industry"

CBS and Pepsi to put video ad inside 'Entertainment Weekly's' Sept. 18 issue

Who says print is dead? CBS and Pepsi are teaming up to put a video ad inside issues of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

"We love print," says George Schweitzer, president of CBS Marketing Group. "We're saving the print industry."

The ad is a significant component of the network's multi-million-dollar fall television marketing push. It features a video player that highlights the network's Monday night comedies and new dramas in a co-branded print ad for Pepsi Max, the soft-drink maker's high-caffeine, low-calorie beverage aimed at men.

"This has never been done before," Schweitzer says.

With 90% of respondents saying they hear about television promotion on television, he adds, the question is: "How can we get our samples in front of more entertainment enthusiasts?"

The video ad will be included in home delivery of the Sept. 18 fall preview edition of the magazine in the New York and Los Angeles areas. A video-less co-branded "Monday to the Max" ad will run nationally.

The video player includes spots for returning comedies How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory; a preview of new Monday comedy Accidentally on Purpose; a Pepsi Max spot; and previews of new dramas NCIS: L.A., The Good Wife and Three Rivers.

The campaign was created by OMD's Ignition Factory. The rechargeable chip holds 40 minutes of video. Designed by Los Angeles-based technology company Americhip, it's powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and designed to withstand the rigors of mail delivery.

The Monday to the Max campaign, which also includes a Pepsi-Max branded microsite, a Los Angeles premiere party with CBS stars walking the red carpet, and screenings of the Accidentally on Purpose pilot on college campuses, is designed to spur a word-of-mouth movement-and, of course, media coverage.

"It's a little bit experimental," says Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer for Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages.

So the company will eschew traditional ROI (return on investment) measurements of success in favor of "buzz" and "cultural feedback," according to Cooper. "We need to find ways to engage consumers in new and different ways," he says. "That's the future, and you've got to be in that game."

While the most effective promotional tool for broadcast television is still on-air promotion, marketers are nevertheless increasingly deploying outside-the-box marketing campaigns in an effort to reach consumers in a fragmenting media landscape. ABC's Desperate Housewives dry-cleaning bags and CBS' egg campaign, where network slogans were tattooed on supermarket eggs, are recent examples. Both campaigns received copious media attention that put the networks' brands in the Zeitgeist at a time when viewers were primed to sample the broadcast networks' new fall shows.

"We sent out 35 million eggs," Schweitzer says.

So what's next?

"Video omelets."