Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie draw enough fans to open a movie. How about HSN?
Hollywood is about to find out as the St. Petersburg TV shopping network launches a three-day marathon Aug. 6 hyping the release of the Julia Roberts film Eat Pray Love.
"It's the biggest marketing partnership in our history," said Bill Brand, HSN executive vice president of programing, marketing and business development.
Usually, movie tie-ins match fast food, soft drink makers and action movies. But HSN hopes to join the fashion industry, which has made in-roads selling its wares through the flicks Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada.
HSN and 20 vendors spent months creating more than 400 products to sell — like Italian gourmet foods and jewelry fashioned from prayer beads — linked to author Elizabeth Gilbert's sabbatical of self-discovery to Italy, India and Bali.
HSN has plenty of Hollywood celebrity connections. But after learning TV shopping had zero profile with filmmakers, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman made a pilgrimage to pitch executives at five major studios a year ago.
"There are very few retailers out there that have the breadth and depth of HSN," said Marc Weinstock, president of marketing for Sony Pictures, which Advertising Age rated the top studio in movie marketing savvy. "This is a great opportunity to reach our target audience."
The key figures: 83 percent of HSN's 5 million best customers are women, 30 to 50 years old with above-average incomes.
HSN hopes to immerse its troops in a film based on a 2006 book that sold 7 million copies. HSN handed out 2,500 copies of the book to workers and rented local theaters for private screenings.
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After years of hammering brand recognition, many personal injury law firms are transforming their ads to promote specialties or gather specific types of clients.
However, attorneys Paul and Peter Catania shifted their ads to warn motorists of the perils of distracted driving.
On 12 billboards, their Tampa law firm takes aim at such multitasking hazards as thumbing text messages. "Yep. He's really txting n driving. That why there's us."
There's nothing illegal about texting while driving. But the ads created by Tampa ad shop PyperPaul+Kenney are a reminder to drivers that cell phone records can pinpoint their behavior.
"We're sharing safe-driving tips as a public service, and if that associates us with collisions involving distracted drivers, great," Paul Catania said.
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As part of Domino's campaign promoting "honesty" and "authenticity" to tout its new hand-tossed pies, the national pizzamaker will stop using stylists that are standard in food industry photo shoots.
To show how they used to do it, Dominos teamed up with Miami ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky to create a video that unmasks how stylists primp pizzas for their closeup.
For what ad folks call a "pulling the cheese" shot, pizza is bolted to the table with screws hidden by pepperoni. Stylists wield a torch, tweezers and dental tools to make the stringy cheese separate just so.
The funny video is at showusyourpizza.com/promise/.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.