Writer: Gerald M. Czarnecki President & Chief Executive Officer O2 Media, Inc. 2001 W Sample Rd. Pompano Beach, FL 33064 Media Contact: Limor Windt Vice President, Marketing Limor@o2mediainc.com 954-‐691-‐1102
COMEDY AND BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT IS NOTHING TO LAUGH ABOUT—OR IS IT? Gerry Czarnecki, President & CEO, O2 Media Edited by Denise Kraft, O2 Media
Lucy…. I’m Home! Those 3 simple words ended up being 3 of the most infamous words in television that not only introduced TV viewers to one of the most famous comedy sitcoms in history, but that also introduced viewers to Product Placement and Branded Entertainment. Back in the 1950s, TV airwaves were dominated by one of the most famous comedy television programs in history-- called I Love Lucy. This pioneer comedy sitcom starred comedienne Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz as an upper-middle class married couple in Manhattan. Each week Lucy, Desi and their neighbors Fred and Ethel found themselves right in the middle of a funny plot or scheme, which was normally cooked up by Lucy. Each week viewers were engaged in not only the hilarity of Lucy’s comedic timing, but also a strong dose of Phillip Morris cigarette Product Placement/Branded commercials. But, these commercials did more than just run during the act breaks of I Love Lucy – they actually financed the entire show after Philip Morris became the official sponsor of the half-hour sitcom. Like traditional show sponsorships and product placement that dates back to those I Love Lucy days, Philip Morris also utilized Product Placement and Branding within
the shows narrative. Lucy, Desi, and company always smoked Philip Morris cigarettes, and in one episode, Lucy even disguises herself in the iconic Philip Morris bellhop uniform. By the way, the same type of integration existed on The Milton Berle Show, which was another of the pioneer TV shows that really opened up the medium. “Uncle Milty” was a hilarious slap-stick comedian who really gave TV the start it needed. Right by his side was the show sponsor Texaco, and there was no doubt that the “ads” were truly a part of the show. Later came the Hallmark Hall of Fame, and it has been running for 60 years. That show has been a platform for Hallmark, and continues to this day as their primary platform on TV. In April 2006, Broadcasting & Cable1 reported, "Two thirds of advertisers employ 'Branded Entertainment'—product placement—with the vast majority of that (80%) in commercial TV programming." The story, based on a survey by the Association of National Advertisers2, said "Reasons for using in-show plugs varied from 'stronger emotional connection' to better dovetailing with relevant content, to targeting a specific group. So, television advertising certainly has evolved since the 1950’s. Today’s advertisers have more options than they did then and most of those options are now not only needed, but demanded due to advanced technology and the ever-sobusy consumer. Let’s use TIVO or any DVR service for example. With this type of technology attached to a greater percentage of televisions in the home—no one HAS to watch a TV commercial anymore. We can simply fast forward right past the spot that an advertiser paid a great deal of money for viewers to see. Now would be a good time to segue back to Branded Entertainment. Even though Branded Entertainment and Product Placement has been incorporated into television in many ways, shapes and forms for years-- there is now a revised, revamped and refreshed form of Branded Entertainment that’s created a certain, let’s say, “Branding Buzz” within the television and advertising industry. It’s called Brandutainment™, and it’s with this new form of Branded Entertainment that not 1
only the big players can participate, but also the players just starting in this advertising game. We can now reach consumers by NOT pushing a product in their face-- but by entertaining, educating, providing relevant solutions and ultimately engaging the consumer in the message. Here at O2 Media, WE are the pioneers and the creators of Brandutainment™, a unique form of Branded Entertainment presented to viewers through our National Television Shows, “The Balancing Act” and “Designing Spaces,” both airing on the Lifetime Network. So, what makes O2 Media more unique than other Branded Entertainment companies? We are the only independent production company that; owns a full hour of air time, has daily fixed time slots, is in the programming grid of the Network, is line listed on the TV Guide, has a micro-site on www.mylifetime.com, and has our shows broadcasted on Hulu. We’re also engaged directly with the BlogHer community, which is the largest single community of female bloggers in the country. O2’s demographics, along with Lifetime’s, are the perfect spot for the majority of consumer product companies. No other independently produced program-length television series contains sponsored content without both opening and closing paid program disclaimers; this adds credibility to our message and is due to the unique relationship we have with Lifetime Television. The bottom line is that we have no meaningful competition within our Brandutainment™ platform, making our shows on Lifetime Television a truly unique Branded Entertainment opportunity for all companies. If you want to learn more about O2 Media and what sets us apart from the rest of the Branded Entertainment pack, you’ll also need to know that the focus for us is not just on presenting specific products or services to viewers and consumers. More importantly, it’s to convey the brand’s story, culture or history-- and elicit emotions that will drive the viewers and consumer’s behavior. In O2’s Brandutainment™ platform, we surround participating companies with the total Branded Entertainment experience. We initiate a campaign to compliment the show segments including; social media, newsletters, press releases, direct email and even sweepstakes and contests. The full rounded approach starts with their flight of National TV shows; The Balancing Act and Designing Spaces which air on Lifetime Television. We then complete the company’s round trip campaign with
successful and essential marketing efforts to get their show segment circulating on the airwaves and in other designated mediums. For over 7 years now, the success of our full rounded approach toward Branded Entertainment can be clearly seen in the results that many of the Nation’s top brands have experienced. Let’s take Procter & Gamble for example…. a great success story among many for our Brandutainment™ platform. Procter & Gamble took full advantage of O2’s marketing and promotional tools made available to them. In addition to the traditional TV appearances, they also participated in our popular “Balance Your Life” Road Tour. The tour consists of 10 events held all over the US which focus on beauty and cosmetics, fashion, food, health and fitness, automotive, home décor, travel, and more. Women from all over attend the event for enjoyment, entertainment and education as well as to shop, sample, and discover new products. (http://www.thebalancingact.com/tour/) The total impressions for their branding campaign were 4,454,477, which was comprised of a mix of on-air, on-line and on-the-ground impressions. InCharge® Debt Solutions experienced great success utilizing O2’s Brandutainment™ marketing methods which included a 13-week series on The Balancing Act and advertising in the “Balance Your Life” Magazine which distributes 50,000 hard copies and 500,000 email copies per quarter. (http://www.thebalancingact.com/magazine/) The total impressions for their branding campaign were 13,300,565, which predominantly concentrated on the ‘on-air’ element, but also encompassed on-line and printed media. Konami Digital Entertainment famous for their Dance Dance Revolution video game also experienced explosive numbers with our unique Brandutainment™ formatted campaign. They participated in The Balancing Act’s Holiday Sweepstakes positioning themselves as a fun & healthy physical activity for kids and families to take part in during those holiday months that bring on festive habits like overeating and lounging. In addition to their TV appearances, they also participated in the “Balance Your Life” Road Tour. (http://www.thebalancingact.com/tour/) The total impressions surrounding their unique marketing efforts we provided on-line, on-the-air and on the road were 9,707,054. Imagine reaching viewers and consumers by creating an emotional level to connect with your brand, not by pushing an “in your face” advertising approach. By taking
advantage of all the unique tools we offer through Brandutainment™, maybe your company will leave those viewers and consumers with a few words that they’ll remember for years to come…. and that will keep them coming back. Think about it, a few words that can leave a lasting impression-- AND that can also have YOU laughing all the way to the bank. Lucy…. I’m home! Comedy and Branded Entertainment is nothing to laugh about—or is it?