There should be no exception for branded entertainment deals. Given these economic times, we need to cut the luxury fat of having metrics just as a passive aggregate of information. Advertisers need metrics to help them proactively do better business on future deals.
The "Enemy" partnership was well thought out--having started at NBC's "infront" for advertisers last spring. Ben Silverman is guiding his network toward branded entertainment on all of its programming, which is, given the industry climate, the way to go.
Nielsen revealed that the combination of product placement and commercials increase brand awareness by 20%. Advertisers are working with broadcasters to strategically package and maximize their branded entertainment opportunities.
Some current and upcoming shows that have product placement include TNT's "Leverage," which will be presented by Hyundai Genesis on Dec. 7, and Bravo's "Inside the Actor's Studio," which recently debuted its 15th season with Infiniti as its exclusive sponsor.
In addition, MTV recently teamed up with IT Company Hewlett-Packard to create the reality series titled "Engine Room," while Nickelodeon followed that trend by signing a deal over the summer with AT&T to put branded entertainment on the hit show "iCarly." Similarly, Dodge has sponsored episodes of Fox's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," while Bravo mainstay "Top Chef "kicked off its new season Nov. 12 with various sponsors, including Toyota, Clorox and Quaker.
As for NBC, in addition to "Enemy," the network has ordered a full season of "Knight Rider," a show whose star is a talking Ford Mustang. The network will also launch a highly anticipated mid-season drama with Ian McShane called "Kings." That show will boast Liberty Mutual as a key sponsor.
The trend is growing on the Web as well, with CBS Interactive set to launch "Novel Adventures" with Saturn as a sponsor. ConAgra is partnering with MSN on a new branded online sketch comedy series called "The Working Lunch." Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers brand will be featured in the series. Furthermore, TNT has a new micro-series titled "RPM," which has the automaker's Lincoln MKS as a key component of the show.
Marketers are moving forward with branded-entertainment opportunities; proactive accountability and limited risk is the driving force to closing these deals.