Omnicom Group Inc.'s media-buying arm is negotiating a deal with Viacom Inc.'s UPN network that could result in show sponsorships, special cross-promotions and product placements for six of its most important clients, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Friday.
The media shop, OMD, has tentatively agreed to buy an estimated $30 million of television time on UPN during the coming season, but it wants a little extra for having made such a big commitment, according to the report.
'The Hughleys,' a family sitcom, is among the UPN shows for which product-placement deals are being negotiated, the newspaper said. According to the report, which cites people familiar with the situation, the deal is tentatively expected to involve McDonald's, Cingular Wireless, Gillette, Sony's PlayStation, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Vivendi Universal's Universal Pictures.
Sony, Universal, Cingular, Gillette and State Farm confirmed the talks, the report said. According to the newspaper, a spokesman for McDonald's said the company is "always looking for unique and innovative ways to reach our consumers," but declined to provide specifics of the deal. UPN declined to comment, the report said.
According to the report, UPN hired Endeavor Agency, a Hollywood talent agency, several months ago to help promote its fall shows, and the firm approached Omnicom executives about the ad agency's clients gaining access to UPN programs.
State Farm, which has bought airtime on UPN for the first time, is negotiating a product placement within "The Hughleys," a sitcom about an African-American suburban family starring comic D.L. Hughley, the report said.
According to industry executives, another part of the pact still being negotiated calls for McDonald's to be scripted into "The Hughleys," the report said. The newspaper, citing those executives, said McDonald's and OMD executives are expected to meet with the producers of "The Hughleys" to work out details.