Cable Net Gets Serious

Comedy Central Wants More Shops, Ratings
NEW YORK–Looking to create a roster of agencies that understands its “sensibilities,” Comedy Central is talking to a number of shops about creative projects. The fast-growing cable network already has tapped two shops and hired a media buying agency.
Bert Gould, senior vice president of marketing for the New York cable network, confirmed the discussions. Former agency Holland Advertising recently resigned the business.
“We won’t take everybody’s pitch, but we will certainly look at everybody’s stuff,” he said.
Now that Comedy Central has gone beyond its cult audience with hits such as South Park, the network wants its marketing efforts to “drive tune-in,” said Gould. Singer Design in New York has created a tune-in campaign consisting of print ads for South Park that carry lines such as “See comedy that breaks rules, traditions and wind.”
The client has started airing 22 new spots from Dweck & Campbell here. The spots all feature “Larry Shanet, president of Comedy Central,” a man in a clown suit lecturing on the superiority of his organization. In one ad, Shanet says, “You can continually expect to see the greatest value for your entertainment dollar. Except, of course, for porno.”
The client has also been in talks with TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; Leo Burnett, Chicago; Hunt-Adkins, Minneapolis; and others, said sources. Those agencies either declined comment or could not be reached.
SFM Media, New York, has been tapped to handle media for the network’s estimated $5 million account, said Gould. –with Sloane Luca