Rainbow Media's IFC network is launching a scripted TV series "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" with its first big major multimillion marketing campaign and some big marketing partners in tow.
The show, created by David Cross of Fox's "Arrested Development" and co-starring Will Arnett, also of "Arrested Development," will have Delta Airlines, Urban Outfitters, and Jones Soda as its major marketing partners. IFC already airs "Arrested Development" reruns.
"This is our biggest opportunity to work with such great marketers," says Kent Rees, senior vice president of marketing for IFC. IFC doesn't take traditional commercial advertising -- but it offers "presented by" mentions to companies.
"Todd Margaret" will get the benefit of IFC's first significant media spend for an original TV show, which will include broadcast and cable networks, Internet Web sites and social networks, as well as a mobile video ad campaign.
TV networks will include CBS, NBC, Comedy Central, FX, Spike TV, TBS and ad inventory on DirecTV. Network TV programming will include running ads on "The Office" and "30 Rock."
Online sites -- The Onion, Funny or Die, College Humor, Nerve, and Fark, among others -- as well as Google's ad network representing 75 million impressions will carry promos. IFC will also have a social-media plan -- Facebook and Twitter -- with other social media efforts from BuzzFeed, Foursquare and Miso.
The series will have a premiere screening at the New York Television Festival on Thursday, Sept. 23. The begins its regular run on IFC on Friday, October 1, at 10 p.m.
"Todd Margaret" follows an American office temp and convenient liar named Todd Margaret (David Cross) who bluffs his way into a senior sales position heading up the London office for the new energy drink Thunder Muscle.
Rees says the content of the show -- somewhat akin to the slightly-off, tongue-in-cheek nature of Fox's "Arrested Development" -- was the basis of the campaign. The new series will work well with the network's recent rebranding launch back in March, which employs the tagline: "IFC. Always On. Slightly Off."
Rees says many of the 30-second TV promo spots will just let the content of the show play straight -- if not a little "slower" than most TV show campaigns.
"Our viewers don't like to be sold to, or are actually aware of being sold to, he notes. "What we are saying is where and how you advertised says as much as what you say about your brand." IFC's target audience is 18-49 adults -- with a skew to men 18-34 and "chicks who watch TV like dudes."
A big part of the campaign with Delta Airlines is an exclusive airing of the show's trailer on the airlines' in-flight TV system, starting Sept. 1. In October, the full series pilot will run on Delta's TV system.
For clothing retailer Urban Outfitters, there will be a sweepstakes where one winner and a guest will receive a $1000 Urban Outfitters gift card and attend the series' premiere screening at the NY Television Festival.
In addition, on an Urban Outfitters microsite, there will be original content, including the series' trailer, an interview with David Cross and some funny commentary for a bit called the "Book of Looks." Urban Outfitters will have point-of-purchase show posters in 130 locations throughout the U.S.
Jones Soda will create special imagery "Todd Margaret" bottles and four-pack bottle carriers; the show's trailer will run on the company's site. The series will have a promo presence during "The Jones RV 2010 Revival Tour," which is going on now at music festivals and local retailers.