The Taste of 'Cane'

CBS wants potential viewers to get the flavor of its upcoming series "Cane." That flavor happens to taste like rum -- fake rum.

The network placed a print ad in the Sept. 7 issue of Rolling Stone without series stars Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo, Nestor Carbonell and Rita Moreno. Creative features a flavor strip that tastes like Lucia Duque Gold rum, a faux brand prominently featured in the series. The ad, developed by the CBS Marketing Group and Initiative Media, also drives readers to a Web site housing background info on the series and a contest to find the next Duque Rum girl. Entrants can upload their picture and a reason why they have what it takes to be the Duque Rum girl. Five finalists will win a cameo appearance on the show.
The flavor strip, designed to taste like a lime mojito sans alcohol, comes in a tamper-resistant packet developed by First Flavor.

The strip looks like those Listerine breath strips, but the taste is nowhere near as overwhelming. It also doesn't effortlessly melt in your mouth. The flavor left, but a portion of the strip remained.

"We wanted to transform the fictional product into the world of reality," said George Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group.

Schweitzer also said that Rolling Stone was selected as the sole publication for the ad to appear based on the mag's audience and environment.

The ad would have been a natural fit in Entertainment Weekly as well.

What interests me most about the three-page ad, aside from not including the shows' stars, is how little I learned about the new series. I can deduce only so much from the series title and if I didn't work in this industry, I doubt I would have realized that this brand of rum only exists on TV.

This ad is the first of its kind that I've seen that includes an edible flavor strip, but it's not the first time that an imaginary brand has been used to promote a TV series or movie.

HBO created four fake brands to promote the latest season of "Big Love," and teaser cinema ads ran prior to the opening of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" promoting Lacuna, the memory-erasing product featured in the film.
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