TV fans in New York and Chicago may find themselves running into six-foot high statues of “Family Guy’”s Stewie while they’re out and about over the next two weeks
To promote the seventh syndicated season of “Family Guy,” Twentieth Television is placing ten custom-created statues of Stewie, the show’s evil mastermind/baby, around both cities. Like Cow Parade, an international public art exhibit featuring statues of cows decorated by local artists, each Stewie statue will be decorated differently, with one statue painted like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, another splattered like a Jackson Pollack picture, and still another featuring X-Ray Stewie. Only one Stewie statue will actually look just like his actual character.
“Each one is unique and placed in strategic places around town,” says Richard DuMont, Twentieth’s senior VP of marketing and creative. The statues were designed, created and decorated by members of the “Family Guy” production staff.
In New York, Stewie can be found at the Chelsea Brewing Company at Chelsea Piers, the Heartland Brewery Union Square, Midtown Comics at Times Square and 64 Fulton Street, St. Mark’s Comics on St. Marks Place, 300 Bowling on Pier 60 and several other locations.
In Chicago the following week, Stewie will start appearing around town starting Sunday, June 16, at such locations as McFadden’s on N. State Parkway, Bernie’s and Deuce’s and The Diamond Club on N. Clark Street, Butch McGuire’s on W. Division and Murphy’s Bleachers and O’Malley’s Liquor Kitchen on N. Sheffield among others.
Fox worked with non-traditional event production company, The Michael Alan Group, to produce the event.
“We collaborated with Fox to identify establishments that we thought would deliver the right demographic, and then worked with them to secure permission to have Stewie on their property for five days,” says Elizabeth Walker, senior account executive at Michael Alan Group. “Getting that permission was actually very easy. Most people were happy to participate.”
The on-the-ground nature of this promotion is likely to attract fans into the participating restaurants and stores as they come in to check out Stewie and talk to the street teams who will be hanging out with Stewie in some locations.
Attached to each Stewie statue is a plaque with a QR code. When fans use their smart phone to check out the code’s link, they’ll find tune-in information for the show on Tribune’s WPIX New York and Weigel’s WCIU Chicago, the locations of all of the other Stewie statues around town, and details on a free screening event.
Fans also can take a picture of themselves with the statue and tweet that out using the hashtag #FamilyGuyNYC or #FamilyGuyNYC_Pix. Chicago fans might want to use the tags #FamilyGuyChicago or #FamilyGuyChicago_WCIUTheU.
Both free screenings will feature a showing of “Blue Harvest,” ”Family Guy“’s famous retelling of “Star Wars” through the somewhat-warped “Family Guy” lens, as well as an episode of the show that has never been seen before in syndication. Prize packages full of “Family Guy” schwag also will be handed out.
In New York, the Stewie statues will start turning up on Thursday, June 6 and will stay up through Tuesday, June 11. On the evening of June 11, fans can gather at Pier 63 at Chelsea Pier for the screening, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., and the screening starting at 8:30 p.m. Mike Henry, otherwise known as the voice of “Family Guy"’s Cleveland, will host. If it rains, the event will be pushed to Thursday, June 13.
Chicago’s free outdoor screening takes place June 21 (with a rain date of June 22) at Navy Pier’s South Gateway Park, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the screening starting at 8:30 p.m.
Twentieth Television also is working with its station partners – WPIX and WCIU – to promote the promotion, talking about the statues and the screening on the stations’ morning news shows, and running on-air and online promos, including a watch-and-win contest. Both cities will see billboards, posters and wrapped buses promoting the event.
Twentieth also has made a two-week radio buy to promote the events. In New York, CBS Radio is going to put an 11th Stewie statue in its lobby, where a street team will encourage celebrities who come into CBS’ studios to come get a picture with Stewie that they can then tweet out to their fans. There’s also a radio contest in which one winner will get a Stewie statue of their very own, and VIP treatment at their town’s screening.
Says DuMont: “Since this show is animated, it doesn’t really have talent that we can travel. This gives our station partners a different way to promote the show other than just promos.”