TORONTO – One hundred actresses dressed as detective Jane Timoney, Maria Bello’s character in NBC’s Prime Suspect drama, this week descended on downtown Toronto as part of a giant flash mob.
The marketing stunt by Global Television underlines just how far Canadian networks will go this Fall to convince TV viewers to check out their new U.S. network series.
Jason Keown, senior director of marketing at Global Television, said dressing the actresses in Bello’s signature outfit, including a fedora hat, aimed to get Canadians to tune in for a first look at Prime Suspect tonight, and to do more sampling in the coming weeks.
“The response was terrific. We grabbed their attention, and the actresses were carrying iPads with clips from the show,” he said.
Rival Canadian networks launched their own marketing stunts to get their rookie U.S. series noticed.
Rogers Media, which programs Citytv stations countrywide with popular U.S. shows like ABC’s Modern Family and NBC’s 30 Rock airing nightly at 7 p.m., is bringing Fox’s "Journey to Terra Nova" fan experience bus to Toronto to promote Terra Nova airing Monday nights at 8 p.m. this Fall.
As with the Prime Suspect flash mob, Citytv is looking to supplement its traditional media buy for Terra Nova, which includes print ads and billboards, by including an interactive experience where Torontonians can board the solar-powered bus with its green screen studio and digitally insert themselves in select scenes from the TV drama.
“It really rounds out the campaign. Viewers want to get involved and want to share the experience with their friends by getting a first look,” Koreen Ott, the director of marketing at Rogers Media, insisted.
Canuck networks going the extra mile to get viewers here to sample rookie U.S. shows follows past TV seasons where Canadians typically proved reluctant to embrace rookie shows, preferring instead to wait until their sophomore season to become loyal fans.
Elsewhere, the CTV network sent a PAN AM “screening lounge” vehicle dressed up as a mock jetliner with a 14 foot high tail and 20 seats on a tour of nationwide shopping malls to give Canadians a sneak peak at the ABC drama, which bows this Sunday night in local primetime.
In addition, actresses dressed up as PAN AM stewardesses are to hit the streets of Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto this Friday, ahead of the ABC drama’s debut.