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Smart Promo: Phil Dunphy Campaigns for ‘Modern Family’ Homevideo Release

Fox takes unique approach to promote comedy by turning to moments from the show and building campaign around one of its lead characters

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has turned to “Modern Family’s” Phil Dunphy to promote the comedy’s fourth season release on homevideo.

Dunphy, who is a real estate agent on ABC’s hit show, appears on bus bench ads, pillow cases and ads specifically designed around him. A new series of online banner ads began appearing Friday on sites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com.

The promos are unique for a homevideo release, with studios typically turning to tradiaitional media and in-store displays. But with “Modern Family,” Fox wanted to play with the popularity of the Dunphy character, and use moments that have appeared in the show to bring the events to life for fans.

It’s a unique strategy that makes sense for a show that’s proved a consistent ratings performer, and should help the disc release stand out from a crowded period at retail when many other TV shows are hitting homevideo timed with the new fall season.

The bus bench ad, featured in “Snip,” the season’s third episode, appears in 245 locations across Los Angeles and displays the phone number 866-5DUNPHY that plays a message from Burrell in character as Dunphy.

The pillowcase appeared in the “Career Day” episode, with Dunphy revealing the promo item to boost business. His wife, Claire, doesn’t want to see the pillowcase in the bedroom, saying: “One of him in bed is more than enough!”

Target will offer the pillowcase as an exclusive item that comes with the fourth season of “Modern Family” on Blu-ray or DVD at at its stores. Retailer promoted the item in circular ads leading up to the show’s homevid release.

“‘Modern Family’ is one of smartest comedies on television,” said Mary Daily, president and chief marketing officer, worldwide marketing, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “We had a lot of fun leaning into the storyline of season four to develop our campaign and to celebrate the best of Phil Dunphy.”

Naturally, Fox is also turning to Twitter, asking fans to tweet a photo of themselves on one of the benches @FoxHomeEnt with #ninjainablazer for a chance to win the fourth season on Blu-ray or DVD. It’s also giving away posters of the ad signed by Ty Burrell to people who upload their photo to NinjaInABlazer.com, again another reference to the show.

The fourth season of “Modern Family” bowed on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 24.

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