Showtime swears by profane promo

Rique ad aims to capture channel's edginess

Showtime, which used to tout itself as the net with “no limits,” is applying that ethos to its on-air promos as well.

The pay cabler’s new promo spot features characters from its shows uttering various exclamations that include the word “shit” — from “oh” to “holy.”

By itself, such a promo would be unremarkable, given the R-rated content of so many Showtime skeins and movies. But the ad — spearheaded by Showtime execs Frank Pintauro and Angie Speranza — doesn’t stop there. The montage is set to the Centralia song “Holy Shit,” which includes lyrics such as “I’ve been such an asshole/I’ve been such a prick” and “Holy, holy shit/We’ve got the world by the tit.”

The capper, however, is the spot’s tagline: “Showtime — The Best Shit on Television.”

Light years from “NBC — Let’s All Be There,” but, “We thought it was really fun and really ballsy,” Showtime entertainment prexy Bob Greenblatt says of the ad and its unconventional catchphrase. “We didn’t think twice about putting it on our air.”

Cabler has decided to spread the ad around the Internet as well. It’s been posted on Showtime’s website, as well as on YouTube (where it carries a “mature audience” disclaimer).

Though it’s a bit risque, Greenblatt thinks the ad accurately captures the buzz surrounding Showtime, which has scored both critical raves and good ratings with skeins such as “Weeds,” “Dexter” and, most recently, “Californication.”

“We’re reveling in our success at the moment,” he says. “I hope (the tagline) becomes something people start saying.”

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