CBS Dials Up Fall TV Ads

CBS this week began promoting its new Fall lineup by sending ads to telephone users calling directory assistance.

Through a deal with Jingle Network, which offers free ad-supported 411 service, CBS is sending recorded messages for seven CBS TV shows to callers seeking local listings.

The creative consists of a celebrity from one of six programs--"The Amazing Race," "Survivor," "The Class," "Smith," "Jericho" and "Ghost Whisperer"--reading a reminder to watch the show. Users can opt-in to a text-message reminder for the program. The campaign kicked off Sunday with ads for "The Amazing Race."

George Schweitzer, CBS's president of marketing, said the company was considering running ads for its programs on a wide range of nontraditional media, including video games and online entertainment. "We're competing against all forms of entertainment," he said. "It's a crowded space, and we're always looking for things to get leverage to get more attention."

Jingle is charging CBS on a cost-per-impression basis, but the company also runs pay-per-call ads. Usually, Jingle ads are targeted by business categories; for example, if a caller searches for a particular hardware store, Jingle will play an ad for another hardware store while the system retrieves the requested listing.

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Schweitzer said that CBS is also taking out traditional ads, but the company also wants to target non-traditional media. "It's a balance between taking an ad in People magazine or The New York Times or a spot on CBS on football, to these very specific one-to-one kind of promotions," he said.

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