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Cinemax Takes Slice of 'Life’

5/12/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

This week, Cinemax will launch a multiplatform branding campaign designed to convince consumers that “Life Needs Cinemax.”

Executives hope to revitalize the premium service as an “unfiltered pop-culture” brand and prompt more affiliates to participate in network promotion by exploiting top theatrical premieres like War of the Worlds this month, Mr. and Mrs. Smith in June, Wedding Crashers in July and The Island in August.

“This is one of the strongest years Cinemax has had in a long time,” said vice president of scheduling Jill Champtaloup. The lineup includes eight of the top-10 grossing films to debut on pay TV, representing $4.7 billion in box-office receipts.

“The range allows for different interpretations of the campaign. It speaks to how anyone relates to movies,” she added.

Beginning May 13, the first of the on-air spots will appear, introducing the new tagline and branding. The two-minute debut spot opens with a shot of cows in a field, underlined by the phrase “Life is dull.” The next shot, of a tractor lumbering down a road, is interrupted when the General Lee — the orange Dodge Challenger from Dukes of Hazzard — jumps into the frame going the opposite direction, followed by the phrase “Life needs movies.”

Movie teasers follow the same formula. One of the more humorous examples: the Dukes of Hazzard boys use a flaming arrow to cause an outbuilding to explode. The message: “Life needs stupidity.”

Different spots have been designed to promote different genres that will appear this summer. For instance, “Life Needs Adrenaline” will include clips from upcoming action movies.

The next day, banners with the same branding message will appear on the network’s Web site, setting off the pre-promotion for War of the Worlds.

Further reinforcement of the campaign is scheduled for May 22, when direct mail bearing the theme is scheduled for delivery to 2.5 million homes.

System affiliates will be provided with banners for their Web sites that will allow local users to link to Cinemax.com.

The network will launch a third category in the on-demand space, copying the theme of the branding campaign. On the “Life Needs” area, Cinemax will program monthly movie stunts. For instance, “Life Needs Vince,” will house all the available films starring Vince Vaughn.

Consumers interested in such genres as adrenaline, romance and pleasure can select those areas to view making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes from the top titles.

Local cable systems and satellite distributors will receive point-of-sale and training materials in June, along with a supporting e-mail blast.

September