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Kmart, the WB in $30 Mil. Promo Push

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NEW YORK Kmart and the WB television network have put together a cross-promotional marketing campaign to help launch five new Kmart fall apparel collections and the WB's new season of programming, the two companies said on Thursday.

As part of the deal, cast members on the WB shows 7th Heaven, One Tree Hill, Reba, Blue Collar TV and Summerland (a new show set to debut on June 1) will sport five of Kmart's exclusive apparel collections that have been matched to the WB shows. Those brands are Route 66, Joe Boxer, Gear 7, Thalia and Athletech.

In return, Kmart will promote the WB in its stores and its stars in advertising, most of which will run on non-Time Warner media properties on TV, print, radio, in-theatre advertising and on the Internet, while outdoor ads will include billboards on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Calif., and in New York's Times Square. TV buys include Viacom, Disney and a variety of cable outlets.

The media buy for the marketing agreement is valued in the $25-30 million range, according to sources. Kmart declined to cite budget figures. All creative for the campaign is being produced by Grey in New York.

"The reason we reached out to the WB is the great demo fit," said Paul Guyardo, svp and chief marketing officer, Kmart. "It's a great brand to be associated with as we focus on promoting our proprietary apparel collection for back-to-school." Guyardo also expressed that the exclusive brands will drive loyalty, and that this agreement was a unique cross-promotional opportunity for both the retailer and the network.

He added that promotional pop-ups are being developed to bookend WB episodes. Those promos will feature the cast members wearing Kmart fashions. "One Tree Hill presented by Thalie, exclusively at Kmart," for example.

The back-to-school promotion is a barter deal between the two companies with no money exchanging hands for talent fees or product placement.

During the six-week program, Kmart will help drive its customers to the WB with in-store exposure including the network's "sizzle reel" playing on Kmart TV sets, the faces of stars and WB logo on its shopping bags and music from the various series playing at Kmart's 1,500 locations.