Until now, the children’s programming division at Columbia TriStar Television has left marketing to the networks, but David Palmer’s appointment to the newly-created VP of marketing position heralds a new focus on in-house promotion.
Palmer, formerly VP of marketing for MGM Consumer Products, says he’s glad to return to the program marketing roots he established at Film Roman, promoting shows like Bruno the Kid. His primary concern now is developing a strategy for marketing Columbia’s animated 40 x 30-minute Godzilla: The Series, which launched September 12 on Fox Kids Network.
Palmer jumped right in with an October Kmart retail promotion tying the new series to the release of Godzilla the movie on video. The next step is a possible fast-food tie-in to coincide with the switch from Godzilla’s current Saturday morning slot to a five-day-a-week slot next spring. Other components making up what Palmer calls a ‘controlled but targeted’ promotion include possible consumer advertising, trade publicity, Web site promotions and Godzilla sweepstakes.
Palmer also oversees licensing for the series and he plans to work closely on a new toy line with Trendmasters, the master toy licensee for the revived Godzilla property.
A little further down the road, Palmer will be promoting Dragon Tales, a co-production with Children’s Television Workshop that will be broadcast on PBS in the fall of 1999. Also coming up is Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, a 26 x 30-minute action-adventure/comedy series for kids ages four to 11. The show, based on a Dark Horse comic, centers around the capers of two robot crimefighters, and is slated for a fall 1999 delivery. For all his campaigns, Palmer plans to use repetition to break through the limited attention spans of the 2- to 11-year-olds who make up his target demographic.
Meanwhile overseas, Columbia TriStar International Television’s latest campaign promoting the Men in Black animated series is set to roll across Europe after a successful U.K. debut. The cross-promotion with Burger King, which originally involved giving out 2.6 million MIB toys in Kids Club meals, was so popular the toy supply ran out during the first four weeks. The campaign will mark the first ever pan-European promotion supporting an animated TV series.