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To Launch Queen Latifah, Backers Planned Months of Promos

Super Bowl print ads, airplane banners all part of effort to get attention for new yakker

Queen Latifah’s new syndie program lasts just sixty minutes, but the program’s backers spent months preparing audiences for her debut.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has been promoting the new program, which mustered double- and triple-digit increases over the performance of other programs in its time period a year ago in many major markets Monday, since last February’s Super Bowl, explained Sheraton Kalouria, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sony Pictures Television.

“We had a long runway,” he said, since the program was announced about 18 month ago. As a “first shot across the bow,” Sony was able to secure a full-page ad in the program distributed at the Super Bowl. The event was broadcast by CBS, whose stations represent the Latifah program’s primary distribution vehicle. The idea, said Kalouria, was to get the program’s coming debut in front of “key decision makers.”

From there, the company has in conjunction with its media agency, Publicis Groupe’s Spark, tried to place word about the show in other intriguing venues, in addition to the usual ads on local stations that would eventually carry the show.

Over Labor Day weekend, around New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Sony and Spark hired aerial advertising companies to pull banners touting the program over desirable vacation spots, including the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons. “With a big show like this, we needed to get the message to a variety of people. We need to have the bookers. We wanted to get the partners. We wanted to get the advertising people,” Kalouria said.

The company tapped print and digital advertising, too, placing ads in Us and Jet and on Essence.com. Street teams, sometimes armed with mobile video clips or song-collections on CDs, were dispatched to jazz festivals and street fairs, among other events. And the host herself made sure to make select appearances and use social media frequently.

“It is really super competitive” when it comes to launching a new daytime talk show, said Kalouria.

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