Save the Cheerleader. … Help the Promo Guys.
Rival webs are picking up on the huge success of NBC’s recent “Heroes” campaign, which has earned a great deal of attention for the unusual but catchy tagline “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” (delivered with a whisper by a mysterious female voice).
Multiple “Save the Cheerleader” parodies have popped up on air in recent days, include one for Fox’s “Family Guy” and another for ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”
“I took it as quite an homage to our work,” said NBC Agency prexy Vince Manze. “Occasionally you do something that cuts through and becomes bigger than just a promo campaign.”
The Fox spot reworked the “Heroes” logo to fit the “Family Guy” title, while a voiceover altered the tagline to say “Save the Baby, Save the Planet” (a reference to “Family Guy” toddler Stewie).
And ABC’s “Ugly Betty” promo, which completely apes a “Heroes” spot, ends with the reworked slogan “Love the Ugly, Love the World.”
NBC began adding the “Save the Cheerleader” tag to its “Heroes” promos in mid-October — five weeks before the episode featuring the phrase actually aired. Manze said he thought the slogan was so unusual that it might intrigue viewers enough to check out the show.
“Our only concern was, we didn’t want to come out with a campaign that might be seen as cheesy or be perceived as being too inside,” he said. “On the other hand, we thought (“Save the Cheerleader”) was the coolest thing. The more we said it, the more we wanted to go with it.”
As a result, the campaign deserves some credit for powering “Heroes” to new ratings highs. Last week’s episode scored NBC’s top-rated adults 18-49 mark for any entertainment series this fall.
Manze credits the “‘Whaaa?’ factor” — as in, “What the hell was that?”
“It’s something we all strive for these days,” he said. “This had that ‘Whaaa? factor.'”
Now, with the “Save the Cheerleader” episode out of the way, Manze and company will have to find a way to top themselves with their next “Heroes” campaign — a task made tougher by the show’s upcoming holiday hiatus.
“We have something planned — maybe there will be a new line,” Manze hinted. “My goal is to keep the fires burning while we’re off for a month.”