[03/13/06 - 12:00 AM]
USA Creates Groundbreaking Digital Social Network

[via press release from USA]


Pioneering "Show Us Your Character" Multi-Tiered Campaign Seeks Most Unique Character In The U.S.A.

NEW YORK -- March 12, 2006 -- Expanding the scope of its successful Characters Welcome branding initiative, USA Network is launching a groundbreaking multi-tiered marketing campaign, Show Us Your Character, it was announced today by Chris McCumber, senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy at USA. The campaign marks the most aggressive digital marketing initiative in the channel's history and centers around the launch of ShowUsYourCharacter.com, cable entertainment's first foray into the digital social networking space. Coinciding with the launch will be a national contest to find America's most unique character. The contest will serve as an integral component of a cross-platform strategy utilizing on-air, interactive experiential programs and alternative media to build a robust online community and drive network viewership.

"This is the first time a television network has created a comprehensive online social networking community that reaches far beyond our programming," cited McCumber. "We're truly excited about giving our viewers the opportunity to connect with us and each other in a way that no other television network is currently attempting in the digital arena."

The "Show Us Your Character" (SUYC) campaign marks the second phase of the "Characters Welcome" brand campaign with a focus shift from the characters of USA Network to the "characters" of the U.S.A. -- the viewers. SUYC features several integrated components with the website serving as the connective device across all media. These tiers include ShowUsYourCharacter.com, an on-air image campaign showcasing real characters, an aggressive online media presence and a major market grassroots program in five major cities that includes branded mobile kiosks, alternative/guerilla media and street teams.

ShowUsYourCharacter.com; USA Network's ancillary website is a social networking community whereby members ? "characters" -- can upload their videos, pictures, as well as create detailed character profiles they can share with the world. Whether revealing glimpses into their lives or celebrity impersonations, members can meet and interact with other like-minded people from across the country and send viral videos to their friends, vote for their favorite characters, engage in real-time chat and e-mail one another. Community features will also include micro-communities that are USA Network show and advertiser specific as well as sponsor integrated ad banners.

Show Us Your Character Contest; From March 20th through April 28th, contestants can submit a short video and personal statement to www.showusyourcharacter.com to demonstrate why their character is unique by revealing personality, talents, distinctive ideas, wittiness, style, silliness, outrageousness, etc. All submissions will be reviewed by a casting agency who will select 30 finalists. Beginning May 8th, viewers can cast their vote for their favorite character finalists to win the Viewer's Choice Award. In addition, a panel of NBC Universal executives will select the Grand Prize winner, the most unique character in America. The Grand Prize winner wins a national on-air campaign on USA Network, a featured appearance on the silver screen in AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group's FirstLook movie pre-show and an exclusive Web series.

On-Air Image Campaign; USA Network will support the initiative with an aggressive on-air image campaign with 30+ brand spots showcasing real unique characters from across the country. Indicative of the inspiring spirit and distinctive style of future contestants, the spots will drive people online to show their character. The brand spots will be augmented with promotion for the contest as well as secondary events driving viewers to join the experience at www.showusyourcharacter.com.

Major Market Grassroots Program (Five markets); USA Network will execute a grassroots program in five cities: NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston. The six week program runs March 21st through April 28th for a total of 15 event days - - three events in each market. The program is scheduled to roll-out as follows: NY (Rockefeller Center 3/21, Times Square Block Party 4/23, Union Sq. 4/25); Chicago (Navy Pier 3/24-3/26); LA (Venice Beach 3/31, City Walk 4/1-4/2); Philadelphia (Penn's Landing 4/7; Rittenhouse Sq. 4/8, Headhouse Sq. 4/9); Boston (Copley Sq 4/14, Fanuiel Hall 4/15 & 4/17). The program will feature mobile kiosks, street entertainers, street teams and roving "character" videographers.

Mobile Kiosks (Five Markets); Branded mobile kiosks will feature web cams whereby visitors can upload their videos or pictures to www.showusyourcharacter.com and get information about the contest. Kiosks are designed to include an "Inspiration Lounge," a place for participants to relax, connect and prepare for video uploads; a prop corner where accessories, wigs and outfits are available; character video pods and character experience take-away items including caricatures rendered by staff artists.

Street Entertainers (Five Markets); Concurrent with mobile kiosks, branded street entertainers/actors will be used to personify the essence of SUYC and create buzz for the campaign through improvisational performances/stunts at high traffic locales. Entertainers will include a singing quartet, jugglers, swing dancers, drummers, break dancing ballerinas and karaoke singers who will distribute SUYC four-sided pamphlets driving people to www.showusyourcharacter.com and used to generate awareness for the mobile tour.

Street Teams/Guerilla Video Grabs (Five Markets); Coinciding with mobile kiosks, branded street teams designated as Character Ambassadors will work in pairs video taping :30 - :60 "character" clips of pedestrians to upload to www.showusyourcharacter.com. All participants will receive a USA branded business card driving them to the SUYC website where they will be able to view their clip and email it to a friend.

Aggressive Online Presence & Alternative/Guerilla Media Support; USA Network will encourage potential "characters" to register and upload their profiles via a guerilla casting call. "Casting Call" posters will be distributed in the top 20 markets in locations such as performing arts schools, comedy clubs, music venues, reality tv show auditions, amateur theater, poetry readings, coffee houses, etc. To draw an audience to the SUYC website, USA will mount an aggressive online buy on classified sites, career/job sites, other social networking sites, dating communities, entertainment enthusiast sites, major portals, ad networks and search engines.

For photos of USA NETWORK PROJECTS, please log on to the NBC Universal Media Village at http://www.nbcumv.com/.

USA NETWORK is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows, and blockbuster theatrical films. USA Network is seen in over 89 million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at www.usanetwork.com. USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

  [march 2006]  

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