If marketing officials with Turner Broadcasting System have their way, pro wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair will become household names in more upscale homes.
Three Atlanta agencies--BBDO South, Clarion Marketing & Communications and Ogilvy & Mather--pitched a multimillion dollar assignment last week from TBS' World Championship Wrestling (WCW) division.
The assignment includes work for WCW's Monday Nitro program on Turner Network Television (TNT) and a second prime-time wrestling show that will premier on TBS Superstation on Jan. 8.
The thrust of the agency task is to pull closet wrestling fans out into the open, the result of which would enable WCW to tap into sponsors that do not currently consider the sport to be a viable ad vehicle.
"[Turner] wants to increase the acceptance of professional wrest-ling," said one agency source. "There's a huge audience that watches it, from kids to 60 year olds, women and men. They want people to know it's okay to watch it, that it's a fun thing."
Another source likened the challenge to that of stock car racing several years ago. Nascar, which now enjoys a mainstream following, was once looked upon as something only a double-wide owner could love.
The three agencies made their final pitches to Turner officials last week in Atlanta, and some presented spec creative. The winner could be named this week, but Turner may let that news coincide with the official announcement of the Thursday wrestling program at the Western Cable Show next month.
TBS officials declined comment on the review.