Storytelling, branded content, bespoke, cross-platform, audience development and partnership were big buzzwords throughout Advertising Week. When packaged together, the power of ideas and insights can create magic. When a programmer sprinkles in technology and scale, it can create a serendipitous experience for audiences of all ages. That is what Kathleen Finch, Chief Programming, Content and Brand Officer for Scripps Networks is looking to achieve on October 8 with the “All-Star Halloween Spectacular” -- the first-ever simulcast between the company’s big three flagship networks -- Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel.
This programming event uniquely brings together multiple network stars as they engage in a Halloween-themed adventure in Las Vegas. Each of the participating networks are delivering on their brand promise to provide premium lifestyle content that informs, entertains and inspires their viewers.
In the All-Star Halloween Spectacular, network stars from HGTV and Food Network team up to compete against another pair of network stars to build life-sized haunted houses, with Travel Channel’s Adam Richman, host of Secret Eats with Adam Richman, joining in to assist both teams. The teams, Tia Mowry of Food Network Star Kids and Drew Scott of HGTV's Property Brothers vs. Duff Goldman of Food Network's Worst Bakers in America and Jonathan Scott, also of Property Brothers, build over-the-top haunted houses, topped with special effects and tasty treats. (Jonathan Scott, Duff Goldman, Egypt Sherrod of HGTV's Flipping Virgins, Tia Mowry and Drew Scott are pictured at top, left to right.)
LINQ Hotel patrons toured the concocted structures and voted for a winner. The winning team (to be announced during the premiere on October 8) will donate $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
So how did Scripps approach the construction of this blockbuster? From start to finish, this event was true to the lifestyle brands involved. Instead of going crazy with horror and gore, this event program delivers family friendly fun along with some practical Halloween entertaining tips. “We know we have a lot of audience viewing crossover, so many Food Network fans know the Property Brothers and many HGTV fans also love Duff, Tia and Adam,” said Finch. “The ability to showcase top talent in a high-profile special that airs across our three biggest networks on the same night is something our competitors can’t do, and something we know our fans and ad partners will appreciate.”
Production was covered in the moment, with segments airing on Facebook Live and Instagram, with one Instagram Story of Duff making a milkshake garnering more than 700,000 views. Scripps Networks secured Ikea as the branded content partner and developed product integrations that add to the experience.
Scripps has more Halloween-themed programming set for the weeks ahead, including Halloween Top 20 on Travel Channel and Halloween Wars, Halloween Baking Championship and the first-ever Kids Halloween Baking Championship on Food Network. For those seeking online inspiration, the Scripps Networks family of websites offers up everything from pumpkin carving templates to homemade costume ideas to the best recipes for spooky sweets and terrifying treats.
While simulcasts are typically reserved for big sporting events and charitable fundraisers, Scripps is trying this strategy to leverage its scale and break through what otherwise might be holiday clutter. It should generate massive scale, which garners a higher CPM. If successful, expect to see more of the same around tent pole events and holidays.
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