Game Show Network Pushes Sunday Night

Wolfe/Doyle introduces annoying office worker in debut campaign

The Game Show Network hopes to create “appointment TV” for a younger, hipper audience with a buzzer-blasting office worker and a rapping game-show host in a new campaign.

The effort includes two components: four spots from Wolfe/Doyle Advertising in San Francisco, and a promotional music video with game-show host Chuck Woolery from Digital Integration Group in Burbank, Calif. Woolery is featured in a new reality show on the network.

The commercials show an office worker who has a game-show buzzer on his desk. When co-workers ask him questions, he hits the buzzer and responds, generally incorrectly, with game-show-style answers.

“The spots aim to show what people are like on Monday morning and feature this guy … who answers questions like on a game show because he stayed up to watch the ‘Sunday Night Buzz’ [lineup],” said Ken Warun, vp and creative director of the network.

Wolfe/Doyle’s campaign, which will run on several cable channels, and the new programming it backs broke on Sunday.

“We’re using Sunday night as the launch point to create a piece of real estate on the network that will attract a new and younger audience,” Warun said. “This is our big marketing push for the summer: to expand our brand beyond traditional game shows.”

The network declined to give spending for the campaign. It spent $20 million on ads last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Although the client is best known for its reruns of old game-show hits such as Match Game and Hollywood Squares, the new Sunday lineup features original programming such as Cram, Lingo and National Lampoon’s Funny Money. It also marks the network’s first foray into reality programming with Naturally Stoned, a show that follows the life of Woolery and his family.

To promote that program, Digital Integration Group crafted a tongue-in-cheek, 60-second hip-hop video for Woolery, who as a singer with The Avant-Garde had a Top 40 hit in 1968 with the song “Naturally Stoned.” This is the second promotional effort the company has done for the network.

The client’s efforts to make itself cool for younger viewers with original programming have caught the attention of media buyers, said Andy Donchin, svp, director of national broadcast for Carat. “It’s not an easy task, and it’s going to take a long time,” he said, adding that the effort is a step in the right direction.

Wolfe/Doyle was hired in mid-April to promote the network’s Sunday-night lineup after president and creative director Dan Wolfe noticed the network during in-flight programming on Jet Blue. “I sent them a letter with some of our work,” Wolfe said. “I thought the network had the same twisted sense of humor as our agency.”

The network has distribution to 51 million homes.

“This programming and promotion represent a real sea change in what we are doing to attract a hipper, younger audience,” said Warun.