Local creative marketing company Jetset Studios' most recent viral marketing campaign for the Fox film "Meet the Spartans" a spoof of the "300" genre used an unusual promotional method: allowing fans to tattoo their names on a digital image of Carmen Electra's body and receive a personalized phone message from the actress.

The first of a two-part film and DVD campaign generated hundreds of thousands of participants and was widely considered one of the most successful viral campaigns to date, according to Fox executives.

"While viral marketing has bridged the Internet and mobile divide before, I don't believe that it has never been done to this extent," said Patrick Young, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Jetset Studios.

The initial campaign, designed for the theatrical release of the film, allowed Web site visitors to enter their name, photograph and phone number of either themselves or an unsuspecting friend to create a customized video interview with Electra in which she talks about her new "boyfriend," reveals a tattoo of his name on her posterior and shows off his picture all created digitally.

Upon completing the interview, Electra uses her mobile phone to call her "boyfriend." Seconds later, the number entered into the site rings with a personalized message from her.

In the latest campaign promoting the release of the DVD, much is the same except this time the sexy starlet calls and dumps you or a friend saying, "It's not you it's me, but you'll always have the DVD to remember me by."

The DVD hit store shelves last week.

SlamBall Comeback

Chris Albrecht, who was responsible for green-lighting HBO hits such as "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" and who recently took over as president of IMG Global Media, an entertainment and sports company, is trying to resurrect SlamBall, a street-styled basketball game using trampolines.

SlamBall survived a two-season run on Spike TV only to be relegated to YouTube back in 2003. Albrecht, who stepped down from a 20-year career at HBO after an argument with his girlfriend in a Las Vegas parking structure allegedly turned violent, believes that SlamBall can become a legitimate sport that can be marketed to hard to reach young inner-city males and videogame players.

SlamBall features two teams of four engaged in a 20-minute game. The playing surface is approximately the size of a regulation basketball court, with four trampolines built into the court around each basket. The remainder of the court is fully shock absorbent and surrounded by 12-foot high Plexiglas walls that keep the ball in play for faster action.

Universal CityWalk was the stage for the premiere season of the SlamBall Championship Series, where 48 professional SlamBall players, making up six teams, went at it over the weekend.

Hollywood Lobby

El Segundo-based DirecTV Group Inc. spent $570,000 in the first quarter to lobby Congress for legislation, according to a report filed at the House clerk's office.

Pending legislation of interest to DirecTV includes a requirement for satellite providers to carry all local TV signals. The company favors the requirement as it would allow it more channels. Also of interest to DirecTV were satellite, cable tax and franchise fees.

The Motion Picture Association of America spent $510,000 during the first quarter of 2008 to lobby on international trade matters, copyright enforcement and other issues, according to a report filed with the House clerk.

The MPAA members include Burbank-based Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Inc., Viacom Inc. subsidiary Paramount Pictures Corp. and News Corp. subsidiary Fox Entertainment Group lobbied on intellectual property issues and digital piracy in schools. In addition, the trade group lobbied on Internet neutrality, which would prevent telecommunication companies from charging premiums for tiered services.

The MPAA lobbied the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Trade Representative's office, Federal Trade Commission, the departments of Commerce and State, and other agencies in the first three months of the year.

Staff reporter Brett Sporich can be reached at bsporich@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226

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