FX Networks 2002 Emmy Award Campaign
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FX Networks 2002 Emmy Award Campaign

Rogers Cowan was retained by FX Networks to create an Emmy campaign for its mid-season primetime program, The Shield and its star Michael Chiklis. During the pre-Emmy voting months, TV Academy (Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) voters are bombarded with tapes that many of them don’t even watch.

Paul Holmes

Rogers Cowan was retained by FX Networks to create an Emmy campaign for its mid-season primetime program, The Shield and its star Michael Chiklis. During the pre-Emmy voting months, TV Academy (Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) voters are bombarded with tapes that many of them don’t even watch. Many of these voters have a pre-conceived idea of what they want to vote for, and are not likely to invest the time to watch a television series they haven’t heard about, much less one on a cable network that premiered mid-season. In order to gain awareness of the show, Rogers Cowan created a comprehensive advertising and strategic publicity campaign targeting entertainment trade publications and industry influentials.
 The challenge was to differentiate FX from the other broadcast and cable networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, etc.) as TV Academy voters tend to routinely recognize the same programs year after year, such as “ER,” “Law & Order” and “The West Wing.” Due to the last minute decision to pursue an Emmy campaign, Rogers Cowan was constantly challenged to not incur rush or late charges while maintaining a very tight production schedule and ad deadline schedule.
Rogers Cowan’s objectives were to expose TV Academy voters to FX Networks The Shield through a series of advertisements in the entertainment trades and the creation of an eye-popping Emmy Box Mailer
Position The Shield and its lead actor Michael Chiklis as Emmy worthy and position FX Networks as a creator of Emmy worthy programming; and to generate favorable editorial press coverage from major print, broadcast and online outlets covering the Emmy Awards including The Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and the national wire services, as well as national electronic outlets such as Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, among others
 Rogers Cowan conducted extensive research to create a strategic and effective Emmy campaign. The team researched hundreds of reviews, features and highlights from major market publications to gather positive and powerful quotes about The Shield to be used in ads and the Emmy Box Mailer; advertising effectiveness in trade publications based on date and placement position; successful Emmy campaigns from the past; and vendors that could execute the firm’s vision for both the ads and the Emmy Box Mailer creatively and cost effectively.
 The strategey was to utilize a mixture of advertising and media relations tactics to create awareness of The Shield and generate a buzz for Michael Chiklis (lead actor), Clark Johnson (director) and Shawn Ryan (writer) so that TV Academy voters would feel compelled to watch The Shield and vote for it. Rogers Cowan also developed a parallel media relations strategy to generate corporate and programming stories focused on FX Networks talent and key executives, including president, Peter Ligouri as well as the networks ground breaking original programming.
 Prior to the launch of the Emmy campaign, Rogers Cowan developed a comprehensive project timeline and budget. Planning consisted of selecting specific episodes of The Shield to send to TV Academy voters, developing the concept and design of the Emmy Box Mailer (DVD/VHS) and advertising campaign and creating a target list of media, TV Academy voters and entertainment industry influentials. As part of the process, Rogers Cowan also needed to come up with a tagline that would brand FX Networks as the creator of quality programming that was worthy of an Emmy nod. Rogers Cowan was in constant communication with FX Networks to get their input and keep them well-informed of the progress.
Rogers Cowan designed a consistent and comprehensive advertising campaign targeted at the entertainment trades Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine. Rogers Cowan worked directly with the graphic designers to come up with different options for the look and the feel of the ad campaign to pique the interest of Emmy voters and encourage them to watch The Shield and vote for this critically acclaimed series.
A customized Emmy Box Mailer containing select episodes on DVD/VHS targeted to TV Academy voters was also created. Again, Rogers Cowan worked with graphic designers to refine the show selections and create an Emmy package that would differentiate itself from the competition, attract voters’ interest to screen the tapes and set it apart from the plethora of other box mailers routinely sent. They also oversaw duplication of VHS tapes and DVD’s that were sent out through the TV Academy fulfillment house to Academy voters.
Additionally, Rogers Cowan coordinated FX Networks The Shield Television Academy screening, panel discussion for 400 Academy members and dinner, which mirrored the dark theme and atmosphere of The Shield.
The PR team coordinated all logistics for The Shield screening and panel discussion, Emmy Box mailings, advertising placements and media relations outreach in support of FX Networks, The Shield, Michael Chiklis, Clark Johnson, Shawn Ryan, Peter Ligouri and other key executives and talent.
 As a result of the Emmy campaign Rogers Cowan created and executed, FX Networks made Emmy history. FX Networks earned three primetime Emmy nominations for The Shield in the lead acting, writing and directing categories. The three nominations marked the most nominations ever received for a basic cable drama series as well as the first primetime Emmy nominations for FX Networks in their eight-year history.
The high point of the campaign was Emmy night when the Television Academy announced Michael Chiklis as the Emmy winner for the Lead Actor in a Drama Series for The Shield. Michael Chiklis was considered the underdog in this category beating out such established actors as Martin Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland. Wrote the Hollywood Reporter of Chiklis’ victory: “To say that [FX, Rogers & Cowan] were successful greatly understates what they were able to pull off. It was akin to having a film from Botswana snatch the Oscar for Best Picture.” In addition, FX also created another first: the first time a basic cable dramatic series has ever received a Primetime Emmy Award.
Another indication of the success of the campaign was the definitive branding with the company’s new tagline, “Television In A New Light.” Daily Variety included a picture of FX Networks Emmy box in the Emmy preview issue on June 4. Variety also made reference to FX’s Emmy box as “Emmy wise, FX has gone to bat for its baby (The Shield), by sending out an eye-catching DVD package...” Rogers Cowan I Weber Shandwick also secured placement of eighteen unique trade ads in Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter and Emmy magazine. FX also received coverage focused on their groundbreaking programming.
The amount of media attention the Emmy campaign generated editorially, creatively and critically, was more than any other broadcast or cable network received combined. FX Networks’ The Shield received coverage in all the major print, broadcast and online publications in the country, including the LA Times, LA Daily News, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and E! Entertainment in additional to local and national news stations. Michael Chiklis appeared on the cover of numerous publications with his history-making Emmy win. Publications included: Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Times, among others.
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