Southern Comfort, IFC Sow A Comfortable Crew

Another cable channel devoted to independent movies has taken on a liquor brand to sponsor programming.

Southern Comfort is backing a series of short-films called "Start the Music Up" on the Independent Film Channel, which focuses on the personal stories of New Orleans area musicians.

Starting today, the network will air the films over the next three months on IFC TV and its Web site, IFC.com. The effort was designed to raise money for the Southern Comfort Music fund, which supports the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund and New Orleans Area Habitat For Humanity.

The liquor maker will get brand and messaging signage in a music festival-type environment, says the cable network. IFC has done other deals of this type with clients such as Acura, Heineken, L'Oreal and Target.

Last year, the Sundance Channel and Grey Goose Entertainment produced a series called "Iconoclasts," which had famous celebrities interviewing actors, journalists, and musicians.

Liquor brands have increasingly made major inroads in sponsoring TV shows over the last several years--especially on cable networks. A 50-year-old voluntary ban, however, still exists on the broadcast networks--although in 2001 NBC did a short-lived advertising deal with Diaego's Smirnoff vodka, running commercials on "Saturday Night Live."

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