On the show, which features a fictional Philadelphia family experiencing the upheavals of the 1960s, the younger daughter, Patty, will enter an essay contest sponsored by Campbell's that will become a recurring story arc throughout eight additional episodes of the series.
In real life 2004, meanwhile, Campbell's and Scholastic will run an actual essay contest for high school students that offers a grand prize of $100,000 and the chance for a dance cameo on the series. The contest will be promoted with a 30-second spot on Sunday featuring the show's cast. The essay question is: "How does your American Dream compare to that of your parents when they were your age?"
"We came up with this idea last spring," said Rino Scanzoni, president of Mediaedge:cia's broadcast division. "I like the idea of blending the old with the new. 'American Dreams' is the kind of show that had the potential to do something interesting in terms of the retro aspect, and we have a number of clients that obviously have a legacy of being heavily advertised in that time. We could perhaps even show some of the old commercials within the show and then bracket it by airing new spots."
In addition to the retro Campbell's Tomato Soup commercials, the show will feature numerous script integrations throughout the season, including:
- the American Dreams family eating a Campbell's Tomato Soup dinner
with mix-ins, on three different occasions
- soup cans displayed in the kitchen
- a welcome basket presented with Campbell's Tomato Soup
- Patty serving soup to her friend Chris
- Andy Warhol seen signing soup cans on a college campus
The other aspect that appealed to Campbell's was the ability to reflect the promotion from so many different angles, added Christine Fuller, a managing partner who worked on the deal at Mediaedge:cia.
"It's being promoted across multiple platforms - print, radio, online, in-store, on the soup can labels," she noted. "This is a project that has many different arms and legs. We have done things in the past that had hints of this. But this is groundbreaking for Campbell's because it reaches the consumer in the classroom, at home and in the store. It promotes education, and therefore has extensive media and PR support from NBC on a national level and from local affiliates. It has co-branded promotional spots. It runs the gamut."