Two actors from CW shows will play the new video game “Guitar Hero II” as part one of the network’s content-wrap ad packages.
The CW’s content wraps are designed to keep viewers engaged during commercial breaks by surrounding spots with sponsored content designed to appeal to people watching the shows.
On Thursday, Activision will sponsor entertainment magazine-style segments hosted by Mark McGrath of “Extra” during three breaks in “Supernatural” and “Smallville.” The first will deal with what’s hip in music, the next will deal with what’s hot in holiday gifts-including “Guitar Hero II,” which has been receiving a significant amount of attention in the press.
In a third segment devoted to what’s happening, Jared Padelecki of “Supernatural” and Justin Hartley of “Smallville” will play the video game.
Activision bought the equivalent of a dozen 30-second spots, worth about $800,000, which includes a 30- or 15-second spot during each segment.
Dusty Welch, head of publishing for Activision’s Red Octane unit, is spending $5.2 million on TV to launch “Guitar Hero II.” He said the goal was to show people how much fun they could have playing the game. He said The CW’s 18- to 34-year-old male audience was a good fit, but that having the actors play the game is “the cool part of the integration.”
Mr. Welch said he had asked his media agency, MediaVest, to seek out opportunities to demonstrate the game rather than simply buying spots.
MediaVest developed the “See What’s Hot, Hip and Happening” or “CWH” wraparound format with The CW exclusively for its clients. The first CWH content wrap aired during “America’s Next Top Model” during The CW’s opening night in September and featured Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences hair products.
“It held 100 percent of the audience going into the break,” said Brent Poer, VP of production for MediaVest. “That’s something that has benefits for the advertisers, but also the network.”
MediaVest clients will do about at least six and as many as 12 content wraps with The CW, with the next one-for P&G-airing Dec. 11.
The CW also has content wraps coming from clients who aren’t with MediaVest, including an automaker and a beauty products marketer in the first quarter, according to Alison Tarrant, senior VP of integrated marketing for The CW.
“Now that we have a second one, people will be able to see how two very different clients were able to create valuable content for viewers,” Ms. Tarrant said.
In addition to The CW buy, Activision is buying ad time on MTV and the game will be played by members of Panic! At the Disco during an episode of “TRL,” Mr. Welch said.