The Cartoon Network: making an old series new again – Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
There they were, in the jungles of Jamaica, planting clues under coconuts and burying treasure in the sand. Michelle Allario and Tom Alexander are marketers by day but by night, for their Cartoon Network promotion, dubbed “Quest World Adventure,” they braved the wilds, mapping out the paths that 19 young explorers from around the world would take during a week of mystery solving, Jonny Quest-style.
“We felt like camp counselors,” said Allario, Cartoon Net’s vp of marketing. “We played it very straight, because we always wanted the kids to feel like they were on a real adventure.”
Cartoon Network had launched Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, a remake of the 1960s show, as a lead-in to the prime time block in fall 1996. The series, despite its updated themes and virtual reality hook, had not caught on with audiences, particularly with the much-coveted 9-14 demo. For February sweeps, Cartoon Net’s first international promo was crafted, a watch-and-win program that sent 19 kids from different countries to a tropical island. To enter the sweeps, kids had to watch Quest for a week in February and mail in travel-themed details from the show.
Cartoon Net fully leveraged its new Time Warner media family, from 200 of its own on-air spots, to ads in SI for Kids and DC Comics, to tune-ins on video walls in 130 WB Studio Stores. To create local cross-channel hype, cable operators got their own contest, which generated more than 34,000 30second spots across 174 cable systems. Creative elements of the campaign were used globally.
The 19 winners, along with 200 worldwide alternates, received adventure-themed backpacks, flashlights, travel journals and other Quest merchandise. All communications with the winners, itineraries, credentials and mission briefings, arrived stamped “Top Secret.” Winners from as far away as Taiwan, the Philippines and Portugal hit Jamaica in June, divided into teams to stop Quest’s nemesis from committing “environmental terrorism,” their stay peppered by rafting trips, barbecues and reggae concerts.
The results: more than 50,000 kids entered the contest, and the average age of entrants was 10, while the median age for viewers of the show is 8. Ratings among the key demo leaped 100%, and Web site visits skyrocketed 300%.
Program Quest World Adventure
Marketer Cartoon Network, Atlanta
Agency Marketing Mix, St. Louis
Key players Cartoon Net: Michelle Allario, vp-mktg; Tom Alexander, dir-trade mktg; Lauren Berman, mktg coord
Marketing Mix: Lori Sale, pres
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