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Turner Integrates Nationwide in Shows

Mar 29, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Turner Broadcasting hopes to ensure that when its series “My Boys” returns this week, people will remember Nationwide Insurance.
As part of a deal struck during last year’s upfront, Nationwide is being integrated into an episode of the comedy. Also, characters from the show will appear in a custom tune-in spot that reinforces Nationwide’s message that its agents know their customers well.
At a time when advertisers are waiting later and later before committing to buy commercials in the scatter market, integration deals like Nationwide’s have to be completed long before the episodes affected are scheduled to air. Getting those deals buttoned up will be one driver as buyers and sellers try to conclude this year’s upfront.
Nationwide’s upfront package with Turner included both the “My Boys” involvement on TBS and integration into three episodes of TNT’s new reality show “Wedding Day,” from Mark Burnett.
“These integrated opportunities give us a chance to connect with our consumers in a way that’s much deeper and much more meaningful to them and more engaging. That’s why we look for them in an aggressive way,” said Steven Schreibman, Nationwide’s VP of advertising and corporate marketing.
The integrations also help give Nationwide a weapon to help them battle competitors who have larger media budgets, he said.
Mr. Schreibman said Nationwide chose a couple of cable channels to work with closely on integrations.
“Turner was the most optimistic and helped us be as aggressive as we wanted to be. They were really cooperative and came back to us with a really creative proposal, and we went with it,” he said.
Katherine Johnson, senior VP, Turner Entertainment promotions and marketing, declined to say how much the integrations cost Nationwide.
“These are extremely valuable opportunities, and we only work on these types of opportunities with our best partners,” Ms. Johnson said.
Turner has boosted its marketing and production staffs in order to do more integrated marketing deals, which Ms. Johnson said should help during the upfront.
“We find more and more clients when they are making their media investments are looking for partners and they’re looking for opportunities to break through and they’re looking for the right brands, the right series to associate with, and then they want to create content or promotion around those brands,” she said.
Turner research has shown that integrations create a significant increase in the likability, brand recall and intent to purchase than a traditional commercial generates.
“This is not for everybody. There are production costs involved in this. You have to work with talent, you have to work with writers, and it’s more complicated,” Ms. Johnson said. “But I think that the payoff is enormous. Talk about a return on investment.”
The custom tune-in spot features series star Jordana Spiro, regular Kyle Howard and an actor playing a Nationwide agent in Crowley’s, a bar featured in the show. Ms. Spiro’s character asks a series of questions about herself. Nationwide agent knows the answers, while her best friend doesn’t, highlighting the personal relationship the insurer has with its customers.
In an episode that will air later in the series, two of the characters will be talking about jingles, and one will mention “Nationwide is on your side.” It will stick in his head, and be repeated later in the show.
Nationwide will be a presenting sponsor all season, with tagged tune-in spots and billboards during the series.
“My Boys,” entering its third season, averaged 1.5 million viewers last season, up 14% from season one.
In “Wedding Day,” real Nationwide agents will appear with the happy couples on the show. In one episode, an agent conducts an “On Your Side” review to determine the couple’s insurance needs.
Mr. Schreibman said finding TV-ready agents was easy.
“They’re very well-spoken and very aggressive, so it’s been no problem at all,” he said.

3 Comments

  1. As a viewer — though I wouldn’t watch those shows even with a gun pointed at me — those ham-handed insertions sound pathetic and wince-inducing. No doubt they’ll come off even worse.
    We’re going to have to go back to subliminal advertising — this overt stuff is just too painful and lame to contemplate.

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