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AMC Helps Universal Parks Brace for Zombie Invasion

7/23/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

AMC, Universal Orlando Resort and
Universal Studios Hollywood share
a morbid hope: Plenty of would-be
zombies will be walking up to the
amusement parks’ upcoming Halloween
events.

This fall, AMC’s The Walking Dead
will become the first TV series ever to
be showcased at Universal’s “Halloween
Horror Nights” events, which have
been scaring customers on both coasts
for more than 20 years.

Visitors to both theme parks will be
able to experience the horror of cable’s
top series among persons 18-to-49
and 25-to-54 in elaborate haunted
mazes that include some of the most
iconic locations and scenes from
the show. Mobs of undead walkers
will also stalk those who dare.

Theresa Beyer, AMC’s VP of activation
and promotion, told The Wire:
Greg Nicotero has met with Universal
executives. This is going to be totally
reflective of The Walking Dead brand.”

Nicotero is the co-executive producer
and special effects make-up
artist, who was just nominated for
an Emmy for outstanding prosthetic
makeup for his work on the series.
He won one last year.

Universal plans to make The Walking
Dead
a showpiece of its Halloween
events, which run for 20 nights at both
parks in September and October.

Tune-in mentions for the season’s
third-season premiere on Oct. 14 —
during AMC’s annual Fearfest stunt
— will be part of Universal’s multiplatform
push that extends to online, social
media and direct mail.

And AMC will tout Universal’s
Halloween Horror Nights in off -air
marketing. “Fans love the series, they
love the stories, they love the writing,”
Beyer said. “From comments on social
media, they’re anxious to be part of
this and go through the mazes.”

AMC will be happy if they survive
the zombie-laden puzzles and find
their way to the show.

— Mike Reynolds

Evangelizing
‘TV Everywhere’

What the heck is “TV Everywhere?” Turner
Broadcasting System
wants to show you
in person. With most consumers unaware
of authenticated online video services, the
cable programmer is sending out marketing
reps with iPads, backpacks with screens and
information cards to proselytize the digital
wonders of “TV Everywhere” at local events
in partnership with participating affiliates.

Turner will send one to three TV Everywhere
“brand ambassadors” to various market events to walk
consumers through the authentication process and explain
what TVE offerings are available to them. The cable programmer
provides online video content from networks including
TBS, TNT, CNN, HLN, Cartoon Network and truTV.

Turner already has worked with some
operators at events this summer. As part of
Cartoon Network’s “Move It Movement”
tour, for example, reps promoted the online
offerings to Comcast subscribers in Cape
May, N.J., and Detroit and to Cablevision
Systems
customers in Bridgewater, N.J.

“This activation will be used moving forward
for marketing promotions we do with
our affiliates, not just during the summer,”
Turner spokeswoman Rachelle Savoia said.

Folks definitely need the education: Only
20% of pay TV subscribers said they were
aware of TV Everywhere services from their providers in
the first quarter of 2012, per a Parks Associates survey.

Don’t look for Turner’s TVE ambassadors in Time Warner
Cable
territories, though: The MSO still doesn’t have
an authentication deal with Turner.

— Todd Spangler

Starz Makes You ‘Boss’
With Creepy Promo


Starz Entertainment
is weaving Facebook
fans into the twisted
storyline of Boss, in
a vaguely unsettling
video stunt ahead of
the political drama’s
season-two premiere
(set for Aug. 17 at 9
p.m.).

When users visit PriceforPower.com and allow
the site to access their Facebook profiles,
they’re rewarded with a two-minute clip that
features them as a gubernatorial candidate —
with a bunch of enemies. The video incorporates
not only their names (for example, on campaign
placards) but their personal photos and friends.

“Do you realize how easy it would be to have you
completely wiped off the map?” intones Boss’ Mayor
Tom Kane, played by Kelsey Grammer. “Your
friends? Your family?” he adds, as you watch your
Facebook page start erasing friends and reverting
your relationship status to “It’s complicated.”

“We want people to feel it’s a little bit creepy,”
Starz senior vice president of digital marketing
Kelly Bumann said. “We wanted a way to pull
people into this world and drive buzz for this
show, but still make it relevant whether you’re a
fan of the show or not.”

The Price for Power project took about three
months from approval to launch. The site was developed
and is hosted by digital agency BLT.

After watching their lives dismantled, visitors
can either watch the video again, share it
with friends — or just forget the whole thing
ever happened.

— Todd Spangler

COMICAL OFFER AT CON

San Diego Comic-
Con International
draws a lot
of excitable fans
(see Multichannel
News
, July 9). The Wire
wasn’t there, but
acc ording to a
Travel Channel
rep, one att endee
really admired
the press-kit
folder for upcoming original series Toy Hunter
(Aug. 15, 10 p.m.) that a blogger was carrying. It depicts
vintage-toy collector Jordan Hembrough as a
“first-edition figurine.” The fan off ered $100, which
was refused by the apparently ethical blogger,
then upped the ante to $150, which was also declined.
Considering the picture isn’t even of a real
prop, that’s what The Wire calls a fan.

September