Adult Swim Goes on Tour

NEW YORK Turner’s Cartoon Network is getting into the music touring business as a way to promote its Adult Swim late-night lineup.

The network, home to shows with names such as Metalocalypse, which follows the exploits of a death metal band, and Robot Chicken, a free-form violent stop-motion animation show, is staging two free tours that will visit U.S. colleges starting on Oct. 1.

The two tours will operate one after the other. The first will be hip-hop themed and feature performances by Ghostface Killah and Witchdoctor. The rock-focused second tour will be headlined by And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, supported by Dethklok, the stars of Metalocalypse..

“We see this as a great extension of the Adult Swim brand. Music has always played a key role for us,” said Dennis Adamovich, svp, marketing, Cartoon Network, based in Atlanta. In previous years Adult Swim held music showcases at events like the film festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. This is the first time the network is mounting a full-fledged tour.

Adult Swim joins networks such as MTV and CBS that have used tours to connect with their demographic, in this case males 18-24. MTV has put on numerous music tours in the past, including MTV Exit, an anti-human trafficking event, and is currently sponsoring the Official Rock Band Tour, where people can play the game Rock Band. MTV acquired the developer of the game, Harmonix, last year. CSTV, a college sports network owned by CBS, stages several tours during the year that go to different sporting events.

To get the word out about the event, Adult Swim’s marketing department worked with Cornerstone Promotion, an independent life style marketing company based in New York. Spending was undisclosed.

“We’re going to create word of mouth on the right music sites, such as Allhiphop.com and Pitchforkmedia.com. We have a field marketing staff of 200 on college campus and major cities and their job is to create word of mouth by putting up posters and stickers in record stores, skate shops and on college campuses,” said Jon Cohen, co-president of Cornerstone Production.

Helio, the mobile phone maker, will back the hip-hop tour, while Activision’s Guitar Hero 3 and Virgin Mobile are co-sponsors of the rock tour. Clips from Adult Swim shows will play on two large video screens between performances.

Leading up to and during the tour, spots with words in white against a black background promoting each event will appear on Adult Swim, said Adamovich. These tongue-in-cheek spots, which are known as cards, will range in length from 10 to 30 seconds. They will be written just before the tour event begins.

“For us it’s a great extension of what Adult Swim truly is and is a way to take it to our demographic in a tangible way,” said Adamovich.