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CBS rolls out promos prior to upfronts

Network launches media blitz

CBS is going on offense, launching a media blitz this week to tout its primetime strength heading into the upfronts.

Eye will use a variety of CBS Corp. platforms — including on-air, radio and online in order to push its “Only CBS” campaign. Net also has print ads today in the New York Times and USA Today to promote its status as the most-watched broadcast net and the only broadcaster to score year-to-year gains (up 12% with viewers, and 7% with adults 18-49).

“As we were preparing for our upfront meeting with clients and agencies, it made sense to show them our competitive position,” said CBS TV Network sales prexy Jo Ann Ross. “We wanted to position ourselves as separate and apart, as the only network that has shown growth while others struggle.”

It’s likely no coincidence that CBS launches its campaign on the same day that one of those nets, NBC, holds its upfront presentation for advertisers.

But the campaign also doubles as a response to cable nets — in particular, Turner — that have been taking shots at the broadcast networks in an attempt to push for pricing parity.

“There’s so much chatter from the cable upfronts, and it’s been a challenging year for the ad business in general,” said CBS marketing chief George Schweitzer. “We want to clearly distinguish CBS from the rest of the pack, and position ourselves beyond just a room at Carnegie Hall (where the Eye holds its upfront presentation). We have to get our message to companies beyond Madison Avenue and Los Angeles.”

Schweitzer said the campaign will be carved out of existing promotional time on the Eye, starting on Sunday with “Face the Nation,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and “60 Minutes.” The New York Times and USA Today ads were carved out of their regular buys here, using one of their ad commitments.

“We believe in the power of advertising and doing what we ask companies to do ourselves,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer said the tagline “Only CBS” was created just for this campaign, but that there’s a possibility the net might adopt the slogan for other marketing uses.

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