A&E Shoots For New Program Franchise: Rock, Paper, Scissors

Proving just how far cable can narrowcast in an increasingly niche television world, A&E Wednesday said it would build its next big programming franchise around the childhood game of rock, paper, scissors. Planning a tongue-in-cheek approach, of course, A&E also announced that a decidedly un-childhood marketer, Anheuser-Busch, would sponsor a grassroots marketing effort built around the USA Rock Paper Scissors League's national tournament to crown the country's best RPS player.

The USA Rock Paper Scissors League--newly formed as a marketing vehicle--is holding a series of competitions in bars nationwide, giving A&E and Bud Light an opportunity to reach young adults through on-site exposure. The regional battles start this month.

Then, later this spring, cable network A&E will air the national finals from Las Vegas in a one-hour special. Bud Light will receive significant exposure within the broadcast, with A&E selling the ad time. Some 250 finalists will compete with a $50,000 prize at stake.

Rock Paper Scissors is often used among youngsters as a good-natured way to settle a dispute. Participants surreptitiously make hand motions signifying whether they choose a rock, paper or scissors. In a one-on-one battle, rock beats scissors, paper beats rock and scissors tops paper.

The USARPS is the brainchild of promoters Matti Leshem and Andrew Golder. Leshem, a branded entertainment executive involved in the WB show Pepsi "Play for a Billion," got the idea of turning the backyard game into a marketing opportunity when he saw it being played competitively in Canada.

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