Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ Drives Charlie Sheen Roast
Since 2003, the Comedy Central roasts have become a pop-culture phenomenon as well as a staple of the channel’s programming. The annual or sometimes bi-annual events have always delivered monster ratings for Comedy Central, partially due to the giant promotional machine Viacom put together months before the roast’s premiere. For the upcoming roast of Charlie Sheen, the creative minds at Comedy Central decided to center their promotional onslaught around one of the greatest metal songs ever written, Ozzy Osbourne‘s ‘Crazy Train.’
The idea started when it was reported that season nine of ‘Two and a Half Men’ would begin with a funeral for Charlie’s character, where it would be revealed that he had died after being hit by a moving train. Comedy Central’s marketing team, including Executive VP of Marketing Walter Levitt, jumped on the opportunity to not only use ‘Crazy Train’ as the theme of Sheen’s roast, but to also premiere the roast on Sept. 19, the same night as ‘Two and a Half Men’ returns to the small screen.
Levitt commented on the promotional angle stating, “It was one of those moments as a marketer where you just feel like the universe is unfolding as it should and aligning perfectly. When we started working on the campaign, the notion of making he song ‘Crazy Train’ the centerpiece was one where we knew we had something when we heard it.” Regarding the roast and ‘Two and A Half Men’ premiering on the same night, Levitt added, “The fact that an hour earlier Charlie will be killed by a train is almost too perfect for words.”
Sheen has taken to his role as conductor of the ‘Crazy Train’ with intense dedication, appearing in numerous commercials as the conductor of the locomotive while taking goddesses and wild animals along for the ride.
The promotional tsunami will continue to built next week as New York and Los Angeles will be crawling with double-decker buses sporting Comedy Central’s ‘Crazy Train’ design. Beginning Sept. 15, national radio airwaves are also set to be invaded by the classic Ozzy track, prefaced by pre-recorded audio of Sheen introducing the song. Finally on Sept. 19, the NYC free morning paper, AM New York, will sport the signature train tracks on the cover and through two more pages while vendors blast ‘Crazy Train’ at AM New York checkpoints.
The raw power of Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhodes mixed with the seemingly limitless marketing power of Viacom and Comedy Central have combined to what may be one of the most successful promotional campaigns of all time. Many are expecting the ‘Roast of Charlie Sheen’ to be Comedy Central’s highest-rated roast to date.