Discovery Channel is making sharks come alive with a new buzz campaign to promote its annual Shark Week programming, a weeklong marathon on sharks.
The Discovery Channel erected a 446-foot-long inflatable shark on top of its Silver Spring, MD, headquarters resembling Jaws from the self-entitled movie. The inflatable shark, which is 113-feet tall from his belly to dorsal fin and 200-feet wide, will remain on the building through Aug. 5. Shark Weeks runs July 30 to Aug. 4.
In New York, Discovery Channel street teams disguised as Surfers, Bight University faculty and Bight University “chewleaders” will attack city streets July 27 to July 30 visiting morning TV shows, landmarks and high traffic areas to promote the series.
Surfers will roam New York City streets in Bight University apparel with surfboards in hand. Bight University faculty will test New Yorkers on their shark lore knowledge and give passersby a chance to win Bight University apparel and DVDs of Discovery Channel shows. Lastly, Bight University chewleaders get viewers pumped up for Shark Week performing acrobatic cheering routines. Street teams will distribute thousands of foam shark hat and Bight University T-shirts premiums, as well as Shark Week tune-in cards as part of the guerilla marketing stunt.
“We’re always looking to do something fresh,” said Julie Willis, senior VP-marketing for the Discovery Channel. This is the 19th year of the Shark Week series.
Locally, Silver Spring businesses are saluting Shark Week with special shark-related displays, events and special menu items. For example, the Silver Spring AFI Theaters offered special showings of Jaws this month. Other businesses, including the Asian Bistro and Redrock Canyon Grill, have added shark-themed menu items to support the promotion.
The goal behind Shark Week is to teach viewers about sharks and help defuse the notion that sharks are mindless killing machines, Willis said.
“The core is education. That is our mission,” she said. “For us, it’s all about building a really interactive, multi-platform campaign off a single idea. This year, [that idea] is what it is like to work with a shark.”
To further immerse viewers into the Shark Week experience, Discovery Channel has rolled out a Bight University Web site where consumers can “enroll” in the fictitious college. The network launched the Web site to encourage learning about sharks and to promote the Shark Week special.
Online content includes video on jobs that deal with sharks, an interactive shark attack map that shows where shark attacks on humans have occurred since 2000, shark puzzles, a shark quiz and shark-themed games. The site also contains “want ads” for shark jobs, which offer detailed information from Jobs that Bite programs.
Shark Week kicks off July 30 with a two-hour special Dirty Jobs: Jobs That Bite at 9 p.m. ET and ends Aug. 4 with the one-hour special Dirty Jobs: Jobs That Bite Harder.
Radio spots, wild postings, TV spots, print ads and online materials support. Euro RSCG, McLean, VA, handles street teams; Crew Creative Advertising handled the Web site.