Kid nets team with powerhouse youth brands

You only have to switch on the TV or look on the back of a food packet to be bombarded with online, phone-in or mail-in contests for kids.
Hooking up with a familiar brand is pretty much the only hope for a newcomer trying to quickly build an audience from scratch, so Treehouse TV has teamed up with mom-and-tot fave Lego to attract young viewers to its new show, Bob the Builder.

You only have to switch on the TV or look on the back of a food packet to be bombarded with online, phone-in or mail-in contests for kids.

Hooking up with a familiar brand is pretty much the only hope for a newcomer trying to quickly build an audience from scratch, so Treehouse TV has teamed up with mom-and-tot fave Lego to attract young viewers to its new show, Bob the Builder.

Bob and Lego are already buds as the U.K. hit preschool series (which also airs in the U.S.) has spawned a line of licensed merchandise that includes Lego. In September 2000, Lego signed a worldwide deal with U.K.-based HIT Entertainment to build a line of Duplo sets (bigger Lego for smaller children) based on the series, as its building theme was a perfect tie-in.

‘This is the first time we’ve done a contest of this magnitude,’ says Tim Cormick, director of co-marketing for Corus Entertainment, Treehouse’s parent company, adding that he hopes to amass about 5,000 entries. ‘We’ve chosen this really creative prize to capture the imagination of children,’ he continues. ‘It’s something like that which money can’t buy that often makes a promotion successful.’

Running from Oct. 22 to Nov. 19, a Bob the Builder contest offers preschoolers the chance to win a four-foot tall model of Bob, made entirely of Lego bricks (valued at $5,900). Secondary prizes consisting of three Lego Bob the Builder playsets will be given to each of 50 runners-up. Parents are asked to fill out an entry form available on the station’s Web site, www.treehousetv.com.

To support the contest, Treehouse TV is airing 15-second promo spots and a 10-second billboard for the duration of the contest. They consist of footage taken from Lego’s own ads, which have been edited to incorporate the Treehouse brand and details of the contest.

YTV wins gamers on air and online

With the older youth market in mind, another of the Corus nets, YTV, has joined forces with video-game giant Nintendo to offer viewers the chance to win the soon-to-be-released gaming console, Nintendo Gamecube.

Running from Nov. 1-22, Super Duel challenges opposing boy and girl teams with trivia questions, games and secret passwords. The game is carried on-air and online.

‘This contest is directed at tweens and older school-age children,’ says Cormick. ‘The launch of Gamecube is going to be huge and it’s something that really appeals to YTV’s target audience, so combining the two made perfect sense.’

Familiar hosts from the YTV show The Zone lead the two teams. To enter, viewers log onto ytv.com and register to a team. Hourly between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., challenges, questions and secret words appear which contestants must answer online. Every time a viewer enters the Web site with answers, they are collecting points for their team.

During the course of the game, five instant-win Nintedo Gamecube prizes will be awarded to players. At the end of the contest, there will be a random draw among winning team members for 18 grand prize packs consisting of a Gamecube system and three games.

In addition to promotions running on The Zone, Super Duel is supported with a print ad in TV Guide, created by theadlibgroup in Toronto, together with a 30-second radio spot and a 45-second contest spot created in-house. The ads all focus on The Zone’s hosts, Sugar and Pat, and incorporate details about the contest.

‘Nintendo and YTV are two brands that really understand one another,’ says Cormick. ‘Together we are investigating new ways of reaching our target market.’