The campaign, which began in May, is centered on the fanciful notion that the stars of all the shows broadcast by ABC live together in a house as one big happy family. Think of it as sort of a marketing spin on “Big Brother.”
The commercials that have appeared so far have been general in nature, featuring ABC stars like Sally Field (“Brothers and Sisters”), Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”), Matthew Fox (“Lost”) and the late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. New spots that are to begin running on Saturday, which will be available in longer versions next week on abc.com, will promote four new sitcoms that are to make their debuts on Wednesdays in the fall.
The new Wednesday series touted in the commercials are “Hank,” starring Kelsey Grammer; “The Middle,” starring Patricia Heaton; “Modern Family,” with an ensemble cast that includes Ed O’Neill; and “Cougartown,” with Courteney Cox. They are to appear from 8 to 10 on Wednesday nights.
The vignettes in the commercials include Calista Flockhart of “Brothers and Sisters” welcoming Mr. Grammer to the ABC house and showing him to his room. He offers her a tip; she tells him she is not a maid. Also, Josh Holloway of “Lost” and Ms. Cox exchange ripostes at a barbecue. And some of the newcomers are pressed into doing laundry for the casts of established ABC series like “Dancing With the Stars” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“We started with the people who are very familiar faces,” said Marla Provencio, co-executive vice president for marketing at ABC with Mike Benson. Now the idea is to use the premise of the ABC house to “introduce our new Wednesday comedy line-up,” she added.
“The great thing about the ABC house campaign is that it has such great legs,” Ms. Provencio said.
For instance, if ABC is to broadcast a special show like the American Music Awards, she added, the celebrities who are nominees could appear in commercials as if they had been invited to the ABC house “for a special dinner” or “television night.”
The campaign is being created internally at the marketing department at ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, with Becky Daugherty, vice president for specials and late night, and her staff members. Vince Manze, a former NBC marketing executive who is a consultant to ABC, is also helping develop the campaign.
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