Nick at Nite Resurrects "Listen to Me!"
The Unreality print campaign, launched last week and expected to continue for at least four more weeks, is a redo of the Listen to Me! campaign that debuted ten years ago. The campaign featured humorous TV ramblings by Raul DelGato, a fictitious character based on Tom Pomposello, who wrote music for Nickelodeon. Pomposello is deceased, so the new campaign uses a picture of his son, Travis, and calls him Raul DelGato Jr.
The campaign was created by Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert, who formerly owned an ad agency called Fred/Allen. After the agency was disbanded, Goodman went on to create shows for Nickelodeon, including Shelby Woo, a children's mystery, and Seibert became president of Hanna Barbera. Bill Burnett, a California copywriter, wrote the campaign and created the Raul DelGato character.
In the new campaign, DelGato Jr. rambles about the Internet and reality TV, claiming neither is as stable as the sitcoms on Nick at Nite. Dot-coms "vanished without a trace," DelGato Jr. says. "Lucy turns out to be a more stable investment than Lucent."
Reality TV, the prime target of the campaign, is criticized for humiliating the characters on the shows. Then Raul asks, "Is it really the kind of behavior your advertising clients want to put their names on?"
The question is a biggie in the TV industry. Jim Burns, VP of programming and creative at Nick at Nite, says, "Reality TV is popular, but there's some squeamishness on the part of advertisers. On shows like Temptation Island, some of them pulled out."
He says Nick at Nite "delivers the same numbers to the same audience without the hint of impropriety." The network is ranked first among all cable networks in the 25-34 age group.
The ads, which ran in The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, Ad Age, Adweek Mediaweek and Brandweek, were adapted for Manhattan buses. Raul DelGato Jr's picture isn't on the buses, but some of the copy from the print campaign is being used to convey the same Unreality message. The bus campaign started Monday.
The print ads feature a tag line that offers updates to readers who send an email to email@example.com. "We'll send out the columns," Burns says. "We don't know the future, but we think it has legs. We may update the columns."
When asked what the campaign's goal is, Burns said, "It's more about buzz. You want to get media buyers familiar with your product. They read the ads and see the buses and it's priming them for the meetings."
Nick at Nite held its upfront presentation in New York last week and is meeting with media buyers now to sell advertising for the upcoming season. The network has a lot to sell with Cheers being added to the lineup this fall and The Cosby Show next year.