UPN Executive Answers Fan Questions

By Christian
July 9, 2001 - 2:06 PM

A month ago, we gave you the chance to submit questions to Bob Bouknight, head of marketing at UPN. Below you will find his first set of answers, dealing with Voyager promos, the network's plans to promote Enterprise, and more.

Over 700 questions were received over a period of three days, about two dozen of which were sent to Mr. Bouknight. Due to time constraints related to promoting UPN's new Fall line-up, Mr. Bouknight was unable to answer these questions beforehand, but now we can present you with his first set of responses. More answers should follow over the coming weeks.

Brian LeBail: Will UPN be aggressively using print advertising? If so, what magazines are your top priority?

Bob Bouknight: We're still working out the media buy. I'll have more info in the next week or so.

Ian Smith: I am curious to know if UPN will try to make a better effort in trying not to be misleading in its advertising of Enterprise. Ads for Voyager were often overtly sexual and/or promoted secondary plots, thereby missing the ball on making sure audiences had the right idea of what to expect. I would suggest UPN take a closer look at how Deep Space Nine was advertised - ads with taglines like 'Does Jason Alexander want Seven of Nine for her mind or her body?' should be a thing of the past. Star Trek fans are a rather sophisticated lot, and in any case, misleading advertising can backfire. I hope UPN will use the media and its own shows like Buffy and WWF Smackdown to give Enterprise the visibility it deserves, (visibility Voyager often lacked) and a more mature lineup of promos.

Bob Bouknight: I believe Ian has hit on one of the most difficult aspects of promoting a show like Voyager, Roswell, or Buffy. If it was simply a matter of letting the fans know what is happening, our job would be easy. But we also want to promote it broadly enough so that anyone who has not been watching the series would feel comfortable tuning in. I do feel strongly that we should not lie to viewers. Misleading is another issue. If it is not a particularly strong episode, or one that is very "inside", then saying exactly what it's about may not be the most effective way of advertising. That's why you may see lines like "Does Jason Alexander want Seven of Nine for her mind or her body?" (Which by the way, I didn't think was a bad line at all. It was intriguing and as I recall, was not an inappropriate question to ask. I don't know how interesting it would have been had we simply stated what the episode was about).

The rare times that we might concentrate on the "B" story is not meant to be misleading, it's simply showcasing what we believe to be a stronger sell.

Charles F. Cobb: When will we get a glimpse of the new series? Teasers, clips. Any interviews with the new "Trek Family" members?

Bob Bouknight: Teasers will begin appearing soon, either this week or the next.

Jason Race: The earlier promo contained a nice graphic shot of the Enterprise logo. Is this going to be the "official" logo that the series will use next season? Second, will we see any Enterprise promos with shooting footage? The UPN press kit included the Enterprise logo and what looked like some sort of corridor. Could you comment on where that picture came from?

Bob Bouknight: There has been no definite decision on the logo. It is still the frontrunner, however.

I'm not sure what you mean by "shooting footage". I believe the picture you saw was shot on the Enterprise set, but no other pictures have been released. There will be a photo shoot soon with the entire cast.

Michael Kukielka: Is secrecy an important part of building excitement and anticipation for the new series? I know many of us are gushing over the first blurry photos of the set we online fans have seen, thanks to the UPN Press kit. It seems the more secretive and elusive this information is, the more we crave it. And thank you for taking the time out to address the online fandom and correcting the situation with the promo.

Bob Bouknight: I think a certain amount of secrecy is important for any series. Part of the fun is guessing and anticipating what is to come.

Anonymous: How do you intend to position the new series relative to other series in the Star Trek canon as well as other series in the genre? Do you intend to market it as a "Science Fiction" show or a "Star Trek" show? The absence of the words "Star Trek" in the official title suggest the former, while comments made in print that the words "Star Trek" were unnecessary since Enterprise is synonymous with Star Trek suggest the latter. Given the setting in a new timeline, how do you intend to stir interest in the series without the typical Trek fallbacks (stunt casting, crossover storylines, holodeck copouts, etc)? Naturally, these would be addressed in actual stories, but there are some story elements that were a natural progression to creative marketing that you will be unable to take advantage of. Obviously, none of this has any bearing on whether or not I will enjoy the series, which I likely will. I'm just curious. Good luck!

Bob Bouknight: How much we tie the advertising into the Star Trek canon is still being debated. However, my feeling is that it will be advantageous to let people know this is the first chapter in the ST saga, that this is man's first venture into deep space, and that this Trek has a different look and feel from the Star Trek series they have seen before.

More answers from Mr. Bouknight will be posted on TrekToday as soon as we receive them.

Meanwhile, if you would also like a chance to express your thoughts about Enterprise, and more specifically to ask questions about the way UPN Marketing handles the Star Trek franchise, Mr. Bouknight has agreed to participate in an ongoing exchange of thoughts with online Star Trek fans. To submit a question, please use the form below, and depending on Mr. Bouknight's availability, he will be pleased to respond to a selection of those submitted.

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* Question:

Questions will be sent to Mr. Bouknight as soon as a reasonable number of questions dealing with new topics have been received.

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