By: Dorothy Giobbe
IN AN ELABORATE cross-promotion last week, the New York Times produced and distributed a special supplement promoting the opening of The Flintstones, a Universal Pictures release.
The cross-promotion merged the resources of Universal Studios, the Times, and MovieFone.
On Sunday, May 14, 1.8 million copies of the four color, four page supplement appeared in the Arts & Leisure section of the Times. The piece, dubbed Bedrock Times, was produced by the Times and printed at its Edison, N.J. plant.
Universal Studios provided copy and pictures for the piece, which introduced the film’s characters in lighthearted stories and pictures of the actors. Also, the supplement announced a national Flintstones sweepstakes sponsored by MovieFone, offering participants a chance to win a trip to Acapulco, or, “Rockapulco.”
The Times is the exclusive New York sponsor of MovieFone, an interactive telephone movie guide. Under an agreement reached last fall, the Times advertising department and MovieFone work in tandem to develop customized marketing programs that help stimulate telephone ticket sales for high-profile films.
The Times has staged other promotions, for films such as the Age of Innocence and Home Alone, but the Flintstones promotion is the “most elaborate and ambitious” to date, said Bill Adler, director of corporate relations for the Times.
“This movie lends itself to this type of promotion because it is aimed at families and there’s a lot of merchandising,” Adler added.
“Newspapers are always looking to play in any arena and this is an interesting way to get it done. It’s an appropriate use of resources for the Times and our partners.”
On Wednesday, May 25, ten “stone-age newscarriers” in “prehistorically correct” costumes provided by Universal each distributed 10,000 copies of the promotional piece at high-traffic locations around New York City.
Also, the promotion was supported with local radio spots during metro traffic reports and in-house ads in the Times.
“If newspapers can be seen as having potential to be this creative and dynamic, that portends well for us to get more dollars,” Adler said. “It’s a way of trying to use the newspaper beyond selling ad pages.”
The Flintstones opened nationally May 27.
?( Deana Feldman handing out the Bedrock Times supplement to a young girl outside the FAO Schwarz toy store in New York City) [Photo & Caption]
?( The Times’ supplement) [Photo & Caption]