Terms of the deal were not disclosed but MindShare North America CEO Marc Goldstein said the agency has an ownership stake in the series, and that Unilever participates in it directly, as well. Other MindShare clients who sign on to support it will have limited advertising exclusivity in certain categories.
"We're putting an investment into this," Goldstein told MediaDailyNews, though he declined to elaborate other than to say, "I think everybody benefits from it. That's the beauty of this."
Aside from the financial arrangements, Goldstein said the early involvement of the agency and its clients in the development process enhance the possibility for integrating brands and products into the scripted series, though he emphasized there still are no guarantees that will come to fruition.
"We've said all along that if something makes senses we won't not do it, this is not about Unilever or specific Unilever products. This is about developing a show that appeals to the type of viewers Unilever wants to reach an in an environment they want to reach them in," said Goldstein. "At this point in time there is no specific plan to take a product and integrate it into a show. We will determine whether there is an opportunity, but we're not trying to go out of our way to do something that doesn't make sense. We're not going to alienate the viewer."
"The Days" centers on the lives of a two-career couple with three kids, as seen through the eyes of their cynical fourteen-year-old son. Casting will begin shortly and the series is slated for a mid-summer premiere.
The pilot was written by John Scott Shepherd ("Life or Something Like It") and was developed by Tollin/Robbins Productions, which will executive produce the series with MindShare.
The series order stems from a unique programming partnership between MindShare and ABC that was announced in December.