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BET AWARDS '05 'Top Secret' Promotional Campaign Supports Network's Drive to Deliver an 'Off The Meter!' Telecast on June 28th

Innovative Marketing Campaign Launched to Support the LIVE June 28 Telecast Features Hosts Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

WASHINGTON, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Specifics on the BET AWARDS '05 are "Top Secret" -- only a few details have been leaked and all we know for sure is that BET AWARDS '05 is going to be "Off The Meter!" BET is supporting its claim with an extensive national and grassroots marketing campaign valued at more than $2.5 million using "top secret" and "off the meter" as central themes. The campaign includes radio advertising and promotions; national television ads on BET and other Viacom-owned networks; print ads in popular African-American publications; outdoor and transit advertising; in-theater promotions at Magic Johnson properties; local cable buys; contests; an extensive media relations initiative surrounding high-profile celebrity honorees and nominees; a grassroots program utilizing movie theaters, beauty and barber shops and dance clubs; and exciting new innovative elements for national advertisers and sponsors.

The 2004 BET AWARDS telecast smashed records as BET's #1 telecast ever (4.61 overall Nielsen household rating). The Network's 2005 salute to music, sports and entertainment premieres on Tuesday, June 28 "LIVE" from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre with Hollywood actor/actress power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith as hosts. In addition to recognizing 14 categories across sports, music and entertainment, BET will also bestow its highest honors on the incomparable Gladys Knight with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award; and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington and wife Pauletta with the BET Humanitarian Award. With a growing list of high-powered Hollywood stars, and a lineup of earth-shattering performances, the BET AWARDS '05 telecast is certain to measure "Off The Meter!" in every area.

"With four record-breaking BET AWARDS already under our belt, we are constantly looking for ways to surprise our audience," said Kelli Lawson, BET Executive Vice President for Corporate Marketing. "The 'top secret' and 'off the meter' themes in the advertising campaign help us build viewer anticipation while still keeping an element of surprise for a fifth BET AWARDS telecast. In addition, the dynamic personalities and blockbuster appeal of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are a perfect match for an amazing 'off the meter' show."

Television Campaign

The "Top Secret," and "Off The Meter" advertising campaign was conceived by BET's award-winning Creative Services team and premiered on the network the week of May 29. New spots will be rolled out each week leading up to the June 28 telecast in three phases. The ads are based on the premise that every year the BET AWARDS gets bigger and bigger, drawing the hottest stars for an unforgettable night of music and more -- and this year, the stars, the celebrities and the surprises will be "OFF THE METER!" Phase one of the ads leading up to the June 28 telecast incorporates the "Top Secret" theme and feature the comedic character Chauncey Jankins Jr., a hapless investigative reporter who goes undercover inside BET Headquarters to find out who will be hosting and appearing on BET AWARDS '05. In phase two, Jankins works his way into the BET offices where preparations are underway for the BET AWARDS and runs into problems when he interrupts rehearsals of sultry R&B singer and top BET AWARDS '05 nominee Ciara. The clueless Jankins is the perfect comedic foil to Ciara as he tries to change the choreography in her performance, but doesn't realize who she is.

The third phase of the BET AWARDS '05 promos feature hosts Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and play up the "Off The Meter" theme in two hilarious story lines. In the "Smith Family Robinson" ads premiering June 10, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith along with their three children are shown as a smiling, happy family promising a BET AWARDS telecast that BET viewers of every age can enjoy. As soon as they think the cameras have stopped rolling, viewers see they are really on a soundstage and the family starts bickering with each other. The second series of ads premiering June 17 show Will Smith being forced to play "love doctor" by helping rock legend Ike Turner reunite with Tina Turner.

BET AWARDS '05 television spots will air nationally on UPN, VH1, TV Land and Noggin a week prior to the premiere telecast as well as on 10 local cable markets including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, Dallas and Baltimore.

Print & Radio

The "top secret" theme extends into BET AWARDS '05 print advertising with artwork resembling manila file folders featuring snapshot photos of "clues" such as a lock of hair and this year's hosts Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith with the captions "countless yards of silky blond hair weave," and "couple observed during BET Awards rehearsals." The ads are running nationally in the late June and July issues of JET, Essence, Ebony, Vibe, Billboard, TV Guide, Inside TV, and The Source magazines. Outdoor and transit advertising is scheduled for 12 markets, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, Orlando and St. Louis in mid to late June. Internet users will also find BET AWARDS '05 banner ads on various websites and email newsletters.

Local radio spots will hit 37 markets throughout the country, as well as nationally-syndicated network radio shows hosted by Doug Banks, Russ Parr, Wendy Williams and BET's own, Big Tigger.

Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes

The BET Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes, in which one lucky viewer and a guest win a trip to the BET AWARDS, the opportunity to co-present the Viewer's Choice Award and $2,500, kicked off on April 25. Approximately 30,000 people entered the contest, with ten finalists selected to submit a video demonstrating why they should be the BET AWARDS '05 Ultimate Fan. Based on the creativity of the videos, the best two from among the finalists were selected. The videos were aired on 106 & PARK and posted to BET.com for viewers to vote on their favorite. With 9,000 BET.com users casting their votes to determine the final winner, Demetrice Jenkins from Greenville, NC emerged as the viewer favorite and has been named the BET AWARDS '05 Ultimate Fan.

Grassroots Marketing

A number of grassroots marketing tactics are underway to encourage excitement among BET viewers, including promotions in Magic Johnson Theaters in 10 markets, 700 in-store Prima Games/FYE retailers, Barber & Beauty Show promotion and retail blitz, a BET Awards DJ send-off and nightclub promotion in 10 markets. The campaign also features a BET AWARDS '05 custom-published "tabloid," loaded with photos, puzzles, quizzes and editorial information about the BET AWARDS, distributed by street teams in 20 markets and sent to DJs across the country.

In addition, BET is kicking off the BET AWARDS '05 celebration in Los Angeles by hosting a "BET - It's My Thing" community block party at the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday, June 25. This invitation-only event for viewers will include a performance by popular R&B group, B5 and feature games, prizes, food and beverages as well as an opportunity to win a trip for two to the BET*25 Special in October.

Media Relations

BET is executing an extensive media relations effort in support of the BET AWARDS '05 marketing campaign which includes: a nominees announcement and press junket which was held on May 16 at the Hollywood Renaissance to kick off the countdown to the awards show featuring R&B diva and top BET AWARDS nominee Ciara, and R&B star Omarion; a series of "rolling thunder" press announcements related to the special honorees, contests, marketing, talent updates and interactive elements of the Awards program; a special 'Media Day' on June 27 to allow media covering the show with rehearsal day access to the BET AWARDS host, special honorees, nominees, performers and presenters; a considerable red carpet arrivals event featuring a live BET AWARDS pre-show telecast of popular 106 & PARK; and an onsite media operations center that will facilitate coverage opportunities on night of show for credentialed media covering the event. Downloadable images, artwork and the most up-to-date media information related to the show is available via the network's PR website at http://www.bet.com/pr.


BET has partnered with General Motors, Pepsi, Reebok, P&G, Southwest Airlines, Red Lobster and Paramount Studios as BET AWARDS '05 sponsors. Trip promotions surrounding the BET AWARDS '05 include a Red Lobster local radio promotion, a Veet Rasera "Who has the hottest legs in Hip Hop?" sweepstakes, and a Pantene "Girlfriends Night Out" contest at colleges and universities. In addition, select national advertisers will have an opportunity to take advantage of the newly-integrated Live Broadcast Virtual Advertising capability during the BET AWARDS '05 telecast.

BET AWARDS '05 premieres "LIVE" on BET on Tuesday, June 28 at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT with a tape delay in Pacific and Mountain Time Zones. Encore telecasts are Friday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT; Monday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.


BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.

Visit us @ http://www.bet.com/

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Amber Koger of Bobbi Marcus PR, +1-310-889-9200,
amber@bobbimarcuspr.com; or Anne Williams of BET, +1-202-608-2063,

Web site: http://www.bet.com/

NOTE TO EDITORS: Promo Screeners and artwork are available upon request; contact Anne Williams, BET Corporate Communications at (202) 608-2063 or anne.williams@bet.net or Amber Koger, Bobbi Marcus PR at (310) 889-9200 amber@bobbimarcuspr@aol.com.

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