USA NETWORK SETS NEW STANDARD WITH MULTI-TIERED MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR SIX-HOUR TELEVISION EVENT ‘THE STARTER WIFE’ STARRING DEBRA MESSING
Multi-Partner, Multi-layered Strategy Encompasses On-Air, Online, Mobile, In-Store, Print, Outdoor Promotions and Viral Outreach In Traditional and Non-Traditional Media To Capitalize On Multi-Faceted Themes of THE STARTER WIFE
NEW YORK, NY - May 8, 2007 - Setting the gold standard for the marketing of a television event, USA Network has mounted a massive far-reaching campaign to launch the premiere of THE STARTER WIFE, a six-hour television event starring Debra Messing, based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name. The unprecedented multi-layered 360° branding campaign leverages the novel’s themes and capitalizes on pop culture trends through traditional and non-traditional media tactics. THE STARTER WIFE premieres Thursday, May 31 through June 28 at 9:00PM/8PM Central.
“The theme of re-invention applies to all audiences, not just divorced women. Anyone at any age entering a new stage of life will be inspired by the challenges and the humor in THE STARTER WIFE,” said Chris McCumber, senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy at USA. “The theme of ‘starting over’ is universally relevant as evidenced by the breadth of this expansive campaign.”
Outreach includes partnerships with top brands including POND’S, the exclusive presenting sponsor for THE STARTER WIFE, as well as promotional partnerships with Too Faced Cosmetics, Essie, Dress For Success, iVillage, Simon & Schuster and W Hotels.
The marketing campaign, which began its roll out in January and began accelerating with an extensive viral outreach on May 1, will run through the four-week airing of THE STARTER WIFE:
MASSIVE ADVERTISING BLITZ
- A massive tune-in blitz includes national and local television ads; print presence in leading entertainment, fashion, lifestyle and trade publications; national and local newspaper; radio across ten markets; and an out-of home blitz in New York and LA. The last includes commuter rail cards, subway two-sheets, bus tails and bug kings, metro backlits, phone kiosks and oversized wild postings in New York. Outreach in Los Angeles will include high impact billboards and bulletins plus wild posters. Ads will also be featured at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando.
- Alternative advertising includes grocery store backlits, aerial banners over beaches and parks in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
- Digital advertising will include video pre-roll, rich media units, sponsorships and take-overs across entertainment sites, portals, celebrity/fashion/gossip sites and women’s community/dating sites
USA Network is mounting an extensive program to generate hipster buzz on a local level for THE STARTER WIFE. This will be done via the following:
- Nail & Beauty Salon Take-overs: In 64 salons in New York, Los Angeles and Connecticut, USA is distributing branded nail kits with emery boards, as well as branded mirror clings, aprons, point-of-purchase displays and a promotional DVDs.
- Yoga Studios: USA is taking over 50 yoga studios in metropolitan areas including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Each studio gets branded yoga mats, tank tops for instructors and branded water bottles for the Yogis.
- Street Teams / Buddy Scooter Brigade: In top ten markets during the week of May 24, a group of branded ambassadors dressed in Malibu chic attire (branded juicy sweat suits) will travel together handing out POND’S co-branded products and fake diamond rings. As an overlay in Los Angeles and New York, a group of five ambassadors dressed in the same attire will ride on pink Buddy Scooters throughout heavily trafficked areas with vanity license plates reading “Wife Goes On.”
- Trendsetter Screenings: The screenings will take place at over 300 homes throughout the month of May. Each host will get a “Starter Wife” themed kit, which includes a 30- minute premiere sneak peek, nail kits, martini glasses, napkins and a recipe/discussion guide. Each host will be responsible for inviting “insiders” to attend, participate in a Starter Wife discussion and receive THE STARTER WIFE merchandise. The host with the best party will win a pink Buddy Scooter.
- Hamptons Luxury Liner: USA Network is the first entertainment company to fully wrap a Hampton Luxury Liner. The wrapped luxury motorcoach will travel to and from New York City, to the Hamptons, Long Island from 5/1-5/31, with a special 30-minute sneak peek and branded emery board giveaway promotion during Memorial Day Weekend.
- POND’S: USA Network partnered with POND’S®, the face care brand that gives women the “beauty edge,” as the exclusive presenting sponsor for a fully-integrated media and marketing partnership that celebrates today’s 40-something woman. THE STARTER WIFE and POND’S media and marketing partnership began with the film's production and continues through the show’s premiere on May 31. Marketing efforts include traditional media advertising and promotions, retail point-of-sale, logo integration and branded content, online elements and consumer involvement via contests and sweepstakes.
- Too Faced Cosmetics: In conjunction with USA, Too Faced produced 5,000 branded Quickie Chronicles for usage in promotional giveaways and retail beauty demonstrations. Nordstrom will be offering customers complimentary “fresh start” makeovers to celebrate the premiere.
- Essie: On April 1, the “Starting Over” collection, a new line of colors inspired by THE STARTER WIFE, was released in over 50,000 of the best-known salons and spas around the country. The collection features six distinct colors including “Starter Wife,” “Wife Goes On,” ”Pinking Up The Pieces,” “Red-y Set-Ex,” and other colors.
- Simon & Schuster: Publisher Simon & Schuster issued the pocket book release of THE STARTER WIFE on April 24 and features key art with a tune-in burst. The publisher also has online support including a Gigi Levangie Grazer author page, audio clips and cast interviews. S&S will be reaching out to 8,000 book clubs and fiction databases plus isssuing discussion guides in the May/June book club reader program.
- iVillage and Dress For Success: USA Network and NBC Universal’s iVillage have jointly established May as “Re-start Month” and via :20 PSAs will drive women online to starterwife.ivillage.com to make a personal pledge to themselves (e.g. “Starting today I will…”). For every pledge, USA will donate $1 to Dress For Success (up to $10,000), the non-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance low-income women’s socioeconomic development and to encourage self-sufficiency through career development and employment retention. iVillage is pre-promoting THE STARTER WIFE on a themed microsite which includes the pledge board, blogs, community, advice, exclusive clips, and excerpts from the novel.
- Sweepstakes: A national “Fresh Start” sweepstakes launched on May 1 and will continue through July 5. The grand prize includes a four night luxurious VIP trip for two to Los Angeles for a complete life makeover, ten first prizes will include one day of pampering at a local spa and three “just because” flower deliveries, as well as 20 second prizes of THE STARTER WIFE Malibu Survival Tote Bags.
The official website, Starterwife.usanetwork.com, is a micro-site which is devoted to all things “Starter Wife,” including character profiles, blogs, video, dating tips, games, mobile offerings, etc. The site acts as a meeting place for women across the country to entice, galvanize and provoke - a grass-roots forum for women of all backgrounds to share their stories of starting over. Tactics will include:
- Broadband Video: Exclusive video will include five scripted “webisodes” entitled “Hollywood Wives Dish,” in which they dish about the shallowness of Hollywood friendships; behind the scenes interviews with Gigi Levangie Grazer, Debra Messing, the cast and creative team; weekly preview clips, weekly 2-minute replays and streaming of episodes for one week following the premiere.
- Character Blogs: We will offer weekly entries from Molly Kagan will offer “Reflections,” Lavender will provide insights from behind the gate of the Malibu Colony and Anna (Jaden’s nanny) will write the nanny diaries.
- Games: USA has created two interactive games specially designed for THE STARTER WIFE. The first is an interactive board game entitled “Malibuland” where users must help Molly escape to Malibu while completing mini-challenges (and avoiding the “Wives Of”) along the way. The second is a virtual “Whack-An-Ex” where users can upload photos of an ex boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, etc. and quickly pound them back into a hole. Points are awarded and top scores are saved. This micro site also includes weekly personality profilers/quizzes and weekly polls themed to each episode.
- Starting Over Stories: USA has created a vibrant community of real women with real life starting over stories. The topics range from real life “Starter Wife” confessions to weight loss, overcoming illness to family transitions.
- Party Starter Kits: Users can easily host their own “Starter Wife” parties by downloading discussion guides, recipes, drink menus, e-vites and more. Viewers have a chance to win a Buddy Scooter by uploading their photos/videos from their viewing party.
- Fashion, Fitness & Dating Tips: This section features “Starter Wife” dating tips with an expert dating/life coach; a fashion expert offering tips on how to get the “Starter Wife” look; and a fitness expert gives advice on how to tone your “Starter Wife” body.
Online Viral Efforts
- “Word of mouth” marketing will be launched by searching, monitoring and maintaining an open dialogue with hundreds of targeted message boards, blogs, chat rooms and websites including dating, beauty, television, fashion and celebrity/pop culture sites.
- Unique “community based” marketing campaigns will be implemented by partnering with 150+ sites delivering viral video, banners, press releases and first look information, including video, women’s interest, gay/lesbian and music sites.
• As a “Starter Wife” Insider, SMS Weekly Messages offers users exclusive information about the show, with hip tips, exclusive character insights, plus a WAP site will offer mobisodes, photo galleries, games, exclusive sneak peeks and preview clips and downloads.
- Hollywood Premiere
USA will host a star-studded premiere of THE STARTER WIFE in Hollywood on Tuesday, May 22 at the Pacific Design Center. Debra Messing, Joe Mantegna, Judy Davis, Anika Noni Rose and other actors including director Jon Avnet and author Gigi Levangie Grazer will attend the screening and after-party
- W Hotel “Girls Night Out” Events
USA and W Hotel will host a cocktail party in their Los Angeles (May 17) and New York (May 24) lounges. Guests will view clips of the show, enjoy Essie manicures, POND’S/Too Faced makeup applications, plus enjoy specially created cocktails (including “Meet Me in Malibu” mojitos) and gift bags with host products.
THE STARTER WIFE is a sexy, savvy and wickedly funny tour de force about life after divorce and one woman's (Messing) quest to redefine herself after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio head. After being blacklisted from premieres to pilates, Molly Kagan searches to rediscover life after divorce. A brief respite in Malibu and some oh-so-Hollywood friends prove to be the perfect cocktail for her transformation from "Starter Wife" to her new life.
THE STARTER WIFE is executive produced by Grazer and penned by the writing team of Sara Parriott & Josann McGibbon ("Runaway Bride"), who also serve as executive producers along with Stephanie Davis ("The Caveman's Valentine") and Howard Klein ("The Office," "Carnivale") from 3 Arts Entertainment. THE STARTER WIFE is produced by Hay Pop Pty Limited in association with McGibbon/Parriott Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment, for NBC Universal Television Studio. THE STARTER WIFE is directed by, as well as executive produced, by Jon Avnet (“Risky Business,” “Fried Green Tomatoes”).