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MasterCard Seizes Cable `Opportunity’

Nov 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

MasterCard has signed a multimillion-dollar advertising deal to sponsor the new Discovery Channel show “No Opportunity Wasted.”
The deal includes product placement within the show and advertising spots across four Discovery Networks-Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Times Channel and BBC America-between November 2003 and December 2004.
The unscripted show, created by “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan, gives people 72 hours and $3,000 to make a dream come true. The idea of the show is to let participants “stop talking about what you don’t have and can’t do and start looking at what you do have and can do,” Mr. Keoghan told TelevisionWeek. “We’re not paying for people’s dreams. We’re giving them the fuel to get them started. You’ve got to use your imagination to think and then use your energy to turn it into reality.”
That philosophy meshed well with MasterCard’s current ad campaign about various moments in life being priceless, said Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales at Discovery Networks U.S.
“As Phil was describing the show to us, I’m thinking of all the advertisers who are natural fits with us, either in their slogan or how they project themselves,” he said. “MasterCard came to mind almost immediately. We had tried a couple times to get MasterCard involved with our shows and could never execute it. This was a natural fit for us.”
MasterCard will receive product integration in all 13 episodes of “No Opportunity Wasted.” Participants will be given a MasterCard loaded with $3,000 in credit to use throughout the show.
“The show was really developed from the ground up with integration opportunities there,” Mr. Keoghan said. “We really want to avoid that cringe factor you see with product placement. The way we’ve got it set up, it’s an integral part of the creative because part of the challenge is to take this credit card that has $3,000 on it and use it to help them start their dream.”
The show is scheduled to debut in fall 2004 and all promos on Discovery for the show will mention MasterCard. MasterCard will also be mentioned on the show’s Web site and in the on-air calls for participants that will run through the end of this year.
Discovery is also looking for sponsorship partners for the show in other categories, including the automotive, phone company and fast food categories, Mr. Abruzzese said.
Mr. Keoghan is negotiating with several publishers to write a book with the same name as the TV show, which would be released next year while the show is airing. The book would be based on the philosophy of living life to its fullest.
“The idea was from a near-death experience I had when I was 19,” Mr. Keoghan said. “After this happened, I sat down and wrote this list of all the things I wanted to do before I died. That list really became my career.”
The book would include stories from participants in the show, but would not be a companion piece to the show.
“No Opportunity Wasted” is being produced by No Opportunity Wasted Television. Mr. Keoghan, Louise Keoghan and Peter Pistor are executive producers for NOW Television. Robert Wesley Branch is executive producer for Discovery Channel.