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Bravo Goes for Bling

2/02/2007 7:00 PM Eastern

Bravo has deployed a pair of unusual marketing gambits to trumpet two of its current original series.

The network is supporting The Real Housewives of Orange County with a text-messaging game, while one of the judges on reality series Top Design has made a well-trafficked area in Manhattan a little bit more like home — well, like some folks' homes.

Mobile entertainment provider Limbo 41414, beginning Feb. 6, will facilitate “Bid For Bling Limbo Auctions,” a text messaging game featuring sweepstakes and auction components. Participants win by making a unique low bid for prizes that would appeal to the women on Real Housewives. The game, according to the Burlingame, Calif.-based company, encourages bidding strategies to keep players engaged in each round as they receive such comments as “you're the lowest unique bid,” or “your bid is unique but not the lowest.”

Viewers tuning to the show on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. receive a keyword trigger for the auction.

Live auction play — for prizes like a ski bunny five-star ski trip for two, a celebrity makeover by Ted Gibson, a spa trip for two and a shopping spree and personal shopping consultation from Glam.com — is also available online at www.41414.com.

“Bravo has enjoyed tremendous success with all of our interactive TV components, and this promotional partnership with Limbo 41414 offers a creative way promote the second season of The Real Housewives of Orange County,” said Bravo senior vice president new media and special projects Lisa Hsia.

In New York City, subway riders of the shuttle from Grand Central Station to Times Square got a sense of Top Design judge Jonathan Adler's home furnishing line, which was used to create a trio of interior design vignettes: a main living room; a bench setting; and an area for musicians taking part in the Music Under New York program. Top Design, which premiered on Jan. 31 and will assume its regular 10 p.m. Wednesday time slot on Feb. 7, also gained exposure via stickers on the floor and posts at the shuttle stop.

Adler's work was unveiled at a Jan. 29 press conference also attended by Margaret Russell, a show judge and editor of Elle Décor magazine, Top Design contestants, Bravo executives and New York Metropolitan Transit Authority executive director and CEO Elliott Sander.

“Bravo prides itself on bringing creative innovation to viewers' and users' in everyday life,” said Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick. “What better way to demonstrate that then by letting consumers experience the most radical transformation imaginable — a New York City subway platform far more beautiful and stylish than their living rooms?”

Among the items that will be on display through Feb. 6: Desmond screens, an octagonal lacquer mirror, horse lamps, bamboo wallpaper, Prescott chair, X-bench, a Richard Nixon rug, Lampert Lounger and Meurice table floor lamps. The station set up also includes plug-ins for iPods and cell phones.

Luke Ryan, selling his Underground Cabaret CD and accepting donations for his signing and guitar work, was appreciative of the chair provided by Top Design, riffing on the makeover scenario with a placard reading: “My landlord threw me out. Do you like what I've done with the place?”

He said, though, that business was soft, noting that “some people think [Bravo's] paying me.”

September