ABC’s fortunes this year are coming not only from high-rated rookie scripted shows, but also from a returning family-reality show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which has blossomed with increased ratings and new product integration partners.
In addition to the return of Sears Roebuck & Co, which was the show’s major partner last season, Ford Motor Co., AOL for Broadband, Whirlpool, LendingTree.com and Dyson vacuum cleaners have bought into “Home Edition” this season. All these partners have bought product placement in several episodes of the 23-episode series this year, and purchased a significant media buy on the network as well. Media agency executives estimate the value of each of these deals at between $2 million and $7 million.
Meredith Momoda, VP of integrated marketing and promotion for ABC, said the number of requests from advertisers has skyrocketed since the upfront advertising market in June. Increased demand doesn’t mean, however, that ABC will load up on product.
“We want to avoid clutter,” she said. “It’s rare that you’ll see more than two [product placements] per episode.”
Sears had in-show presence in every episode of last year’s show where families-who are having their homes remodeled-make an in-store appearance to shop for products. Last year the show’s host Ty Pennington also used the Sears Web site to search for home products.
The show’s premise is families who are in financial or other need have their homes remodeled. Some families have medical problems; others are extended families living in somewhat cramped quarters. Some 2,000 families send tapes to the show each week, vying for a chance to have their homes transformed.
This year, in addition to the program’s regular casting efforts, Sears is hosting a casting call to find three families. Families can go to Sears stores or its Web site to apply for consideration. And this year the show’s designing experts did a nine-market tour, going into Sears stores and talking with customers.
For six episodes Ford is sponsoring “Ford Garage Moments,” where one member of a family receives a new car. “We are trying to find families that have car needs,” said Jenny Belcher, director of integrated marketing and promotion for ABC. In one of the first episodes, a young girl gets a new 2005 Mustang. Ford also has given a number of production vehicles to the show.
AOL for Broadband will get exposure when Mr. Pennington sends updates on the remodeling to families via AOL Instant Messenger. In several episodes new computers that feature AOL for Broadband will be installed in homes.
LendingTree.com will provide families with specific financial services-such as paying off a mortgage or setting up college loans. Whirlpool will place a washer and dryer in a home. Whirlpool appliances are sold in Sears stores.
Dyson vacuum cleaners, a relatively new TV advertiser, will give away vacuums to families. The show`s designers will also use the vacuums on the program.