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Sponsors Get Actual Assist on truTV

May 7, 2008  •  Post A Comment

When your network’s programming is based on real-life action, some real-life consumer testimonials should fit right in.
That’s one of Turner Broadcasting’s plans for truTV, the former Court TV, which now uses the slogan “Not Reality. Actuality.”
With networks looking for ways to keep viewers tuned to sponsors’ 30-second spots, many are inserting original content into commercial breaks to keep viewers hooked. If the sponsor also gets mentioned during these pod-busting vignettes, so much the better.
Turner is calling one of its approaches to podbusting “Actual Ads.” These 30-second vignettes produced by Turner feature real-life consumers talking about sponsors’ brands.
Turner executives think the approach will work for truTV, because it’s not offering the kind of reality programming some advertisers hesitate to be associated with.
“More and more a lot of what’s considered reality programming kind of falls into a more scripted or contrived genre. What we focus on is really sort of a first-person experience, and we say that truTV really takes you to a place you wouldn’t normally be able to go and gives you that first-person access,” said Tom Winiarski, senior VP and sales manager for Turner
Entertainment ad sales and marketing. “We tried to take that and extend that position with the Actual Ads by having real consumers talk about real brands.”
The pieces are introduced by an announcer or billboard saying, “Here’s a truTV Actual Ad featuring Brand X,” and they would be followed by the sponsor’s commercial, essentially turning a 30-second spot into a 60-second one.
“It’s really trying to extend the advertiser’s message by putting them in an environment in a way that relates not only to their brand, but ties their brand back to our brand,” Mr. Winiarski said.
Sponsors pay only for the 30-second spot, not the whole minute, he added.
“We’re doing the Actual Ad as part of their overall commitment to the network,” he said. “I don’t think it’s about the math of getting a 60-second [spot] for a 30-second [price] as much as it’s really about trying to extend the partnership for us.”
Mr. Winiarski said a few Actual Ads executions are in the works and are likely to start airing over the summer.
Another truTV approach to podbusting are “Real Life Stories,” which take scenes from truTV shows to create a vignette that illustrates traits and qualities a brand wants to be associated with.
Take a show like truTV’s “Ocean Force,” which focuses on rescue operations by heroic lifeguards.
“We cold do a vignette that would focus on heroism or focus on the dramatic action, and we could partner with an advertiser whose brand or whose creative speaks that way, and tie those two together and create a seamless content piece that would be branded for the advertiser,” Mr. Winiarski said.
Some “Real Life Stories” executions are expected to begin airing in the summer.
This week, truTV launched its Reel Movie vignettes, designed to help studios get attention for their new releases.
For 20th Century Fox’s new film “What Happens in Vegas,” truTV has stars Ashton Kutcher and Rob Corddry talking about what it took to shoot a key scene in the movie. That footage, along with commentary from “Vegas” co-star Cameron Diaz, will be turned into a vignette that will accompany more traditional spots for the movie.
Turner, like other broadcasters, is always looking for ways to help out the movie studios, who are some of TV’s highest-spending customers.
Turner’s TNT runs co-branded promos focusing on the drama of films, with stars talking about what drama means to them. This new approach fits better with truTV’s new branding, Mr. Winiarski said.

2 Comments

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