Television shows are increasingly content with branded content, as the New York Times reports:


This Time the Co-Brand Makes It Into the Title


AS marketers increasingly embrace branded entertainment — embedding products in the plots of television shows and movies, making it difficult to ignore them — some denizens of Madison Avenue can recall when the practice was embodied by TV series like “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars,” “The Bell Telephone Hour” and “Lux Video Theatre.”

Now, a branded entertainment deal for a reality culinary competition series on the Bravo cable channel will give the presenting sponsor billing as a co-producer and add its name to the title — the official title, anyway.

The series, scheduled to begin in May, is formally known as “Around the World in 80 Plates Presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred,” which is a credit card from the Chase Card Services unit of JPMorgan Chase. Although the show will almost always be referred to as “Around the World in 80 Plates,” the acknowledgement in the title is another sign of the growing interest in branded entertainment, also called branded content.


But wait – there’s more!


Coincidentally, another deal in branded entertainment, also for a reality culinary competition series, is to be announced on Wednesday.

That deal is centered on plans to expand to markets around the world a Canadian show, “Recipe to Riches,” in which a national supermarket chain sells products based on the recipes from home cooks that win the competitions held each week.


It’s all about “opportunities for consumer engagement,” according to one marketing exec. But there are limits, according to Kevin McAuliffe, senior vice president for cable branded entertainment at Bravo Media:


“There’s always going to be guard rails,” Mr. McAuliffe said, to prevent crossing the line from entertainment to peddling, because “driving people nuts” is “not what we strive for here.”


Of course, striving and achieving are two different things.



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.
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