Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Now get ready for Valentine’s Day. Walt Disney-owned cable station SoapNet is claiming the season of love with “Sugar-Free Valentine’s,” an on-air/ online promotion that will run Jan. 4 through Feb. 15.
“Our shows are all about romance, makeups and breakups—it’s all emotion—so what better place to really own this?” said Adam Rockmore, who took over as svp of marketing at ABC Daytime and SoapNet about a year ago. “This is the equivalent of the ‘Season’s Eatings’ at [the] Food Network or ABC Family’s ’25 Days of Christmas.'”
The first year of the promotion will be focused on-air and online, while future occasions will venture into off-channel marketing and advertising, said Rockmore, who came from The Food Network. Dove Dark Promises Chocolate and K-Y Brand are “Sugar-Free Valentine’s” sponsors.
The bid promotes the SoapNet brand and a new show, Greg Behrendt’s Wake Up Call. Behrendt, the author of He’s Just Not that Into You, will offer irreverent relationship tips in TV spots for “Sugar-Free Valentine’s.” A movie based on the book (He’s Just Not that Into You), starring Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore, will also hit theaters in February.
Soap actors will star in the ads that will run throughout the five-week promo period. One set of ads has the actors improvising with a red rose—a love prop that Behrendt sees as way too cliché. Other ads are reminiscent of the ending of There’s Something About Mary. Instead of “Build Me Up, Buttercup,” however, soap stars sing along to the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You” and Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.”
Another component of the promotion is a contest to find the “best worst-date story.” The winner will be awarded a virtual boyfriend for a year, who will deliver flowers, text messages, compliments, candy and jewelry—everything but the usual relationship baggage.