Christmas has long been billed as a time where peace and generosity rule. But in the TV business, time around the holiday is fast becoming quite competitive.
In a season when cable networks like Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel and Walt Disney’s Freeform try to lure fans of holiday movies and family fare, AMC Networks is stepping up the rivalry. AMC this year is expanding its “Best Christmas Ever” from its eponymous flagship cable outlet, to its other holdings, which include BBC America, WE tv and IFC. In all, the networks will offer more than 700 hours of holiday programming, including exclusives such as “Elf,” “The Polar Express” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The company is upping the Yuletide programming output by 100 hours.
“There are 30 advertisers on board,” says Kim Granito, senior vice president of integrated marketing, who expects six more to come on board over the course of the next few weeks. The programming started Monday.
Among those that have joined up as sponsors are FabFitFun, Sprint, Ferrero, Shutterfly, Gap’s Old Navy, Target, Hershey’s Kit Kat, and Dine Brands Global’s IHOP.
Some of the advertisers are crafting custom video vignettes that emphasize their sponsorship. IFC will run a bespoke element for KitKat and WE tv will do the same for FabFitFun.
FabFitFun, a company that delivers a curated box of beauty and wellness products quarterly, has found consumers respond better to traditional TV ads when there is a custom element added to the commercial mix, says Rachael Tann, the company’s marketing acquisition manager for TV. The company agreed to a custom vignette that will feature its messages interspersed with scenes from the 2006 film “Last Holiday,” which stars Queen Latifah. “I think the viewer enjoys that more. It takes them less out of their viewing experience,” she says,
Tann says FabFitFun has been an advertiser on WE tv, and was able to some elements of the AMC Networks holiday ad plan as “part of an added-value package. We hit a threshold, hit a certain level of spending, and they were able to package it for us.” AMC Networks’ Granito says the company has been out selling the holiday plans since the industry’s recent “upfront” ad sales season and is also open for so-called “scatter” advertising, or inventory that is purchased much closer to air.
If |FabFitFun finds its holiday outing with AMC Networks generates business, it may ask for similar executions around other holiday movies, says Tann. “If this peformas well, we will actually go back to them and request to do this around Mother’s Day, or around the Fourth of July.”