Organic Branded Entertainment: More Sweet 'N Low, Please

When it comes to branded entertainment it doesn't really matter whether something is organic or inorganic. The only real question is: Will a show get great ratings because of its association with quality hair color?

ABC's Daytime Emmys Awards has now answered that question--with a sponsor for the fan section outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood: Kao Brands Company's Luminous Color Glaze. One can only think that is exactly what this fan section--called a "fan zone"--needed. Truly, the Kodak Theater in Hollywood would be naked, dull, and mousy without it.

The name of the fan section is also highly natural--the "Luminous Color Glaze Fan Zone." That name is about as unsweetened as it comes, and surely it rolls off the tongue like any sharp barb from a daytime soap star.

We understand the need to glam up these events, and the seeming need for sponsorship. But surely these fans need more than hair color. Telling fans they need luminescence seems a slap in the face--in the dark.



Hair Color. Soap Operas. Wooden bleachers. Perfect.

Some profess this deal is truly an organic one. Of course, every branded deal claims to be natural, unrefined, unprocessed--in essence, macrobiotic. But for me, give me red dye number one, Coca-Cola cups on the set of "American Idol," and Cingular numbers to call. (What ever happened to the Coca-Cola Red Room anyway?).

Truly, the only real organic deals are the ones--like "American Idol"--that do 10-plus ratings in adult 18-49 viewers despite big branded deals from the likes of Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., or Cingular Wireless.

When are deals inorganic? When shows do tiny ratings and blame is spread all around. Take the WB's "Pepper Dennis," where the main TV anchor reveals his real secret to success: a good smile courtesy of Crest White Strips. Next week? We can only guess. Blow dryers and maybe hair color.

Branded entertainment works when viewers can close one eye--missing that Ford car video of the Idols driving around in Hollywood--and still watch singers sing in an unrefined, unprocessed, organic way.

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