Impiric Wins Direct Response TV Work from TNT, TBS

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The Chicago office of Impiric, the direct marketing arm of Young & Rubicam, has won direct response television assignments from TNT and TBS in a pitch involving two other undisclosed agencies.

Impiric has been charged with creating awareness of NBA broadcasts that take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, reflecting the new schedules on both outlets. The promotional marketing was previously handled inhouse.

"They've had the broadcast for a number of years and they've changed the schedule a number of times, so it's important to get the news out on this," said Michael Powers, vice president and account director at Impiric, Chicago.

Impiric's effort seeks to drive viewership through the mid-season all-star break in February and the playoffs during the spring.

Impiric has created an "In the House" promotional theme. It is described in merchandising materials as "Three Nights, Two Networks, One Big House Party."

"The intention is to develop a series of promotions to get viewers to interact with the broadcasts and then go to the Web site and related Web sites for TNT and TBS for related games and contests," Powers said. "The link is that in order to participate in those online games and contests, you need to get the information from the broadcasts."

Ten couples will win a trip to Hawaii for a Thanksgiving luau hosted by Jayson Williams, who recently retired from the New Jersey Nets. A "house party" will be held in Washington during the all-star break. Details for the final promotion, which will take place during the playoffs, are being finalized. All promotions include prizes such as free trips to games and a chance to meet leading NBA players.

The cable outlets are part of Time Warner Inc., New York.

Impiric works extensively in creating sweepstakes and managing sports events, which was a key element for TNT and TBS when they considered pitches this summer for the account. The budget for the account was not disclosed.

Clients of Impiric's Chicago office include Ericsson mobile telephones, Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s Craftsman tools, Ford Motor Co., Applebee's, Diners Club and Andersen Consulting. Fees generated last year by the Chicago office totaled $20 million.

Media used to promote the repositioning of the NBA broadcasts include radio spots, local newspapers, USA Today, and magazines such as Hoop, Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. Promotional spots are running on TNT and TBS.

"We produce the radio ads [and] they [TNT and TBS] produce the TV spots," Powers said. "We created the promotional portion of the site, print and collateral and promotional ideas."
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