P&G Casts in With ‘Survivor’

Mar 8, 2004  •  Post A Comment

CBS and Procter & Gamble are collaborating on an unusual multimillion-dollar sweepstakes in conjunction with “Survivor: All-Stars” marking a rare time when a broadcast network has given away as a prize a chance at an ongoing role on a prime-time series.

Five sweepstakes winners have a chance to become cast members of “Survivor 10,” which starts production in spring 2005. CBS said the group of five finalists skip directly to the final round of 50 contestants vying for spots on the show. Typically, some 50,000 people apply to be on “Survivor.” The current show, “Survivor: All-Stars,” is the eighth edition of the series.

“It’s one of the biggest promotions we have done in years,” said Anne O’Grady, senior VP of marketing for CBS.

“This is one of the P&G’s largest promotions we’ve ever done,” said a P&G spokeswoman.

The move is particularly unusual for “Survivor” creator Mark Burnett, who prides himself on the casting of his reality shows and even chided a TV critic at January’s Television Critics Association tour who questioned why a popular “Survivor” contestant was left out of the current All-Star edition.

“Can I hire you in casting?” Mr. Burnett replied. “Because obviously, you know more than I do.”

Reality television shows typically hold major auditions for its contestants, who normally are required to supply producers with videotape resumes. CBS and Mark Burnett Productions will do a background check on the contest winners and conduct physical and psychological tests.

As part of the sweepstakes marketing plan, P&G will place 50 million free-standing-insert advertising pieces into newspapers around the country April 4 asking the question, “Are You the Next Survivor?” The advertising piece will instruct viewers to watch the April 8 and April 15 episodes of “Survivor: All-Stars” for clues that will help viewers answer questions. Viewers will have to show proof of purchase for at least three P&G products and respond to the questions by mail or through an Internet site.

P&G will place TV commercials specifically touting the contest on CBS and radio spots on Viacom radio stations. P&G will also do a print campaign and the contest will have a major Internet component. P&G is also using its retailers to advertise the event.

All this has been part of a major promotion P&G has done with “Survivor” for this edition of the show-it’s the advertiser’s first season as a marketing partner with rights to pursue product integration on the show.

Toiletry Prizes

On a recent episode contestants competed for an assortment of bath and toiletries products in a package called “jungle bathroom.” Those products included Crest toothpaste and toothbrush, Scope mouthwash, Zest soap and Herbal Essence shampoo, body lotion and conditioner. It also included a portable solar shower and a portable toilet-all highly desired products, since the contestants are on a remote location with few amenities.

In an upcoming episode, another P&G placement will occur-also featuring about eight to 10 products-which will be set as a reward in a specific “Survivor” challenge where contestants typically compete in a physical stunt.