In today's world, television shows don't really get cancelled; they get moved to another platform. Provided they can find a sponsor. For the cancelled WB show, "The Beautiful Life," HP is that sponsor.
The technology company is sponsoring the online airing of the show's five episodes (two that have already aired and three that never made it to broadcast) on YouTube. The episodes will air without commercial interruption, but HP will promote its Create Change philanthropic program. Through the arrangement, the company has asked the show's stars-- Elle Macpherson, Mischa Barton, Corbin Bleu and Sara Paxton -- and its viewers to record video commentary about how they will create positive change next year.
Barton, for instance, says she wants to get her two dogs registered as therapy dogs, "so that they can help me with my charity work." Paxton says she's going to become a vegetarian and replace her Range Rover with a hybrid vehicle.
"Our 'Create Change' effort is a viral campaign that was planned and launched in advance of the 'TBL' sponsorship," Larry Nelson, HP's director of digital strategy, tells Marketing Daily. "Our decision to run the show 'uninterrupted' was for two reasons. First, it is rare that first-run, long-form content is available on YouTube and we thought having it run commercial free would be a great benefit to viewers. We're also hoping it will remind people to give back, help make a difference, and pay it forward."
HP will sponsor the five episodes on the YouTube channel for six months. HP's Create Change portal allows consumers to purchase products from HP and choose to have 4% of their purchase go to one of seven charities: American Red Cross, CARE, DonorsChoose.org, Junior Achievement, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and World Wildlife Fund.
HP was not a sponsor of "The Beautiful Life" when it aired on television, Nelson says. "This specific opportunity was appealing to us because it allowed us to innovate and associate our brand in a far more integrated way than buying an ad on TV," he says. "We were involved early in the process and worked collaboratively with [show production company] Katalyst Productions to bring this concept to life."