Entertainment Marketing Changes in the Wake of Attacks

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Film and television studios postponed some releases and premieres after last week's attacks, ultimately affecting offline and online marketing campaigns.


Some studios are altering promotions for shows that address war or terrorism but not scrapping the programs altogether.


For example, all offline and online advertising for HBO's World War II miniseries, "Band of Brothers," has been pulled. The series will still be shown and viewers can view trailers at HBO.com.


CBS will air a different first episode of its new CIA drama, "The Agency," because the Sept. 27 premiere had included references to Osama Bin Laden.


DreamWorks took similar steps for the marketing of "The Last Castle," a prison drama to be released Oct. 12. It changed the original promotional campaign, which included an American flag shown upside down, to one that features the main characters: Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.


A Disney spokesman said most of the entertainment company's movie releases and marketing will not be affected. However, the release of its Touchstone Picture's comedy, "Big Trouble," will be postponed.


In addition, Warner Bros. postponed the release of the film "Collateral Damage," a terrorism-based thriller that was to be released Oct. 5.


ABC is planning to go ahead with its new spy drama, "Alias," which includes a story line about a rogue CIA group killing a girl. An ABC spokesman said the show has nothing to do with terrorism; instead, it is about espionage.


Meanwhile, instead of heavily promoting their fall lineups, Web sites for CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox prominently feature a Sept. 21 celebrity telethon to raise money for the victims, simultaneously airing on all four networks, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST.


CBS also decided to proceed with its annual Prime-Time Emmy Awards, which will air Oct. 7, instead of the scheduled Sept. 16. However, the Web site of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Emmys.com, informs viewers that the broadcast will take a decidedly different tone. "This year, the industry will join the nation to reaffirm the spirit of Americans," according to a statement from the academy.


Some film company executives declined to talk about the effect the attacks will have on online marketing campaigns.


In the music world, it is still unclear how record releases and promotions will be affected.


"I can't say that we have actually sat down as an organization and discussed this at this point. All I can say is that we will look at everything we are doing over the next several weeks and beyond and make sure that we are sensitive to the events of last week," said Jeff Dodes, vice president of new media and Internet operations at Jive Records, which represents artists such as Britney Spears and N'Sync.


Michael Jackson has said he is organizing a celebrity recording that aims to raise $50 million for relief efforts. The singer's Web site, michaeljackson.com, however, does not mention the attacks or the fundraising effort. It promotes Michael Jackson's latest release, "Invincible."


At MP3.com, MP3 artists are encouraging people to donate blood and offer other forms of relief to support the victims on individual Web sites. In place of promoting music, message boards and e-mail messages from artists are urging people to support the American Red Cross, the New York Blood Center, the Firemen's Fund, the United Way and The Salvation Army.


Visitors to MP3.com also find a link at the top of its home page that transports users to the American Red Cross' San Diego-Imperial Counties Chapter Web site.


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