From Sneak ADtack’s Branded Content Desk

Friday’s New York Times features yet another version of marketing in sheep’s clothing, edvertorial division:

Script Takes Sponsors From Bit Players to a Starring Role

A SERIES that is to have its premiere on Sunday on ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language ESPN channel, is distinctive apart from being its first scripted show.

The series, called “El Diez,” or “The Ten,” is also unusual because it will have blue-chip brands woven into the story line, which is centered on a young professional fútbol (soccer) player in Mexico City. The presence of the brands within the 10 episodes will be in addition to conventional commercials.

Among the paying customers:  American Airlines, Burger King, Chevrolet, Coors Light, and Home Depot.

They like branded entertainment because “it counters the ability of viewers to avoid commercials; if they try skipping the branded portions of the show, they could miss salient plot points.”

And there are benefits beyond that, the Times piece reports:

One benefit of integrating brands in “El Diez” is that “they help us to fund the production,” [ESPN marketing executive Juan Alfonso] said. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Another benefit is “realism,” he added, in that the appearances of actual brands “add authenticity” to the story about the young player, Chava, portrayed by Alfonso Herrera, an actor who was a member of a popular Mexican pop band, RBD.

Interestingly, that mirrors consumer sentiment about product placement/integration (see Sneak ADtack’s Product Placement Cements Its Place).

The branded entertainment crowd talks a lot about “what’s organic and natural for the viewer” and “wanting the integrations to ‘pass the smell test.'”

Still smells lousy to us.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 305 post(s) on Sneak Adtack