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Letterman Features Live Mazda Ad

Nov 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

David Letterman’s “Late Show” on CBS joined the trend of “live” commercials Thursday night with one of Dave’s sidekicks providing a tour of a new Mazda 6.
Just before the nightly “Top 10 List,” Letterman presented a “special message from Mazda.” A video featured “Late Show” announcer Alan Kalter ticking off the features of the auto, which appeared to be parked outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. The bit ended, as many of Kalter’s do, with him being beaten up and bloodied by the Mazda’s owner. In a faltering voice, he mumbled Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” slogan.
Afterwards, Letterman assured viewers Kalter was OK, and threw to a normal commercial break.
Advertisers are looking for ways to keep viewers from fast-forwarding or changing channels during commercial breaks. Live ads and messages that feature members of a program’s cast are two tactics from the medium’s olden days again being offered by networks.
CBS has done some integrations on Craig Ferguson’s “Late Late Show,” but this is a first for Letterman, according to Marty Daly, senior VP and director of news and late-night sales for the network.
Mazda’s advertising is bought by Ford Motor Media, one of the bigger late-night advertisers on the network. The video was produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, using a script from Mazda.
“It was a true partnership,” said Mr. Daly, noting that the production values in the video, as well as its storyline, helped it fit naturally into the show.
Mr. Daly said he’s hoping to do more live commercials in late night, but “we’re not going to go overboard.”
He declined to discuss the cost of the live spot.
Later in the show, guest Bruce Willis pulled keys to a Saturn from inside a turkey he was preparing to cook. That probably wasn’t a product placement.
(Editor: Baumann)
(11:45 a.m.: Updated throughout)

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