Campaigns keep low profile with no screeners

For TV’s top series, the battle to score a Golden Globe vs. an Emmy couldn’t be more different.

Emmy campaigns are big-budget undertakings — massive mailings of elaborate box sets, extensive full-page ads in the industry trades, even big events staged to drum up interest (or at least convince voters to actually watch their shows).

To pull all that off, studio and network publicity teams spend months plotting their Emmy campaigns.

On the flip side, the Golden Globes rely on much simpler voter outreach. Trade ads? Nope. Pricey, embarrassingly big screeners? Nah.

Whereas Emmy campaigns require heft to reach the TV Academy’s 14,000 or so members, the Globes only require the attention of the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

As a result, the studios and networks conduct a quieter, but year-round, effort to keep their shows in the forefront of the HFPA members’ minds.

“I wouldn’t even use the word ‘campaigning’ to describe what we do,” says Showtime exec VP Richard Licata. “Because they’re a smaller organization, we’re able to send them episodes as we make the shows throughout the year. When awards time comes for us with the Globes, there’s never any strident, deliberate campaigning going on. They know what our product has been and familiarize themselves over the year.”

Licata, for example, sent out every episode of “Dexter” to HFPA members throughout the season (except the finale, which won’t be ready to go by the group’s Dec. 9 voting), and also set up a press conference with star Michael C. Hall.

Universal Media Studios senior VP Curt King adds that the studios “do press conferences with the members throughout the year to introduce our artists.”

The studios and nets have also been known to send out show-

related trinkets (usually publicity-related in nature, such as bags emblazoned with series logos) and personalized letters from stars and producers.

Why such a laid-back approach? Unlike the feature world — in which the Globes are considered the kick-off to the awards-season flurry capped by the Oscars — there isn’t another big TV award (save the Screen Actors Guild’s acting nods) that might require a get-out-the-vote campaign.

For the nets and studios, a big campaign wouldn’t make economical sense, especially given the size of the Globes’ voting body.

That’s not to say the studios and networks don’t take the Golden Globes seriously. Because of the kudofest’s January timing, the Globes are the first major awards to recognize freshman TV series. That allows the HFPA to recognize hot shows before the TV Academy, which it frequently does.

And because it is made up of foreign journos, the HFPA has also been known to recognize more critically acclaimed series and thesps than the much bigger and more populist TV Academy.

That’s why in some ways the studio and network Golden Globes push looks more like a traditional PR campaign: A steady stream of screeners, instead of one big mailing; the occasional conference call and presser; and more one-on-one contact.

“With the Emmy process, because there are so many members, there has to be some kind of organized effort to get them to focus,” Licata says. “Considering all the product that’s out there, it has to be much more of a campaign.”

But just in case HFPA members feel cheated by not getting the same kind of elaborate mailers as Emmy voters, they can take heed: Emmy screeners are also on the way out, as more studio and network PR teams move episodes online as both a cost-saving and environmentally friendly alternative.

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