About a year ago," recalls Jim Sexton, senior vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive, "we ran an e-mail newsletter story by a staffer who'd just moved to a new house and claimed it had the ugliest bathroom she'd ever seen. As an afterthought we invited readers to send in their own stories and examples."
Within weeks, Scripps' Home & Garden Television (HGTV) knew it had struck a nerve: More than 400 letters, most of them complete with photos, poured in. Those letters have now become the basis of a weekly cable TV show, "Bad, Bad Baths," launched in May. "The show highlights the worst bathrooms we've heard about," says Sexton. "But in tune with the spirit of everything we do at HGTV, it also goes beyond bad bathrooms to how they can be remodeled."
The center of the promotional campaign for the show is a sweepstakes on hgtv.com in which winners can get their own bad bathrooms made over. The site also features a gallery of bad bathroom photos, and each week adds details about bathrooms featured on that week's TV show.In May, HGTV also launched a broadband Bathroom Design Center mini-site, design.hgtv.com/bath, devoted to product and other bathroom renovation information and advice. Delta Faucets is the first content sponsor, and according to Sexton, the site will have many opportunities for sponsorships for product and lifestyle accessory vendors in tandem with the TV series.