CNN Thinks Outside the Box With Upcoming Doc About Music Legend’s Struggle With Disease

Jun 19, 2015  •  Post A Comment

CNN is taking an unconventional approach to its presentation of an upcoming documentary about music legend Glen Campbell, who has Alzheimer’s disease — and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is on board.

“When the Time Warner-owned cable-news network airs ‘Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me,’ on Sunday, June 28, it will do so under very rare circumstances,” Variety reports. “The movie looks at singer Glen Campbell, best known for songs like ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ and ‘Gentle On My Mind,’ and his struggle with the ravages of the disease. It will air with only a limited number of commercials, marking the first time CNN has ever aired a film in that fashion (though it has done similar things for select series and special reports). Pitches tied to Eli Lilly & Co.’s efforts to find a cure for the problem will appear just before the film starts, at one point in the middle of the documentary, and then just after it ends.”

Phyllis Barkman Ferrell, global Alzheimer’s disease team leader for Eli Lilly, notes that the documentary is likely to trigger strong emotions among people whose family members suffer from the disease. Said Barkman Ferrell: “We don’t want it to feel like a pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer advertisement. We didn’t want to have that emotional experience interrupted.”

Variety adds: “The deal is the latest by CNN that attempts to create very unique kinds of advertising tied directly to a specific piece of programming. In March of last year, the network enlisted Allstate to serve as a ‘presenting sponsor’ of the eight-part series ‘Chicagoland.’ In the first ad break of the first episode, Tom Wilson, Allstate’s chairman, president and CEO, appeared and spoke directly to viewers about the show.”

Here’s a teaser for the program:

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