June 11th, 2008

Alltel, State Farm, Sonic in Triple Play for TBS Integrations

By Richard Tedesco
PROMO Magazine

Turner Entertainment is advancing its strategy to push more product integration in a trio of deals involving two TBS series.

When the contemporary comedy “My Boys” starts its second season this week, three of the comedy’s characters will be featured in 30-second spots for Alltel Wireless during separate episodes. Stefanie and Bobby will be explaining why they should be part of their friend PJ’s calling circle, while PJ explains why they’re already in it. Alltel also will have billboards in each episode.

It’s integration that uses the show’s characters without actually integrating Alltel into the episode plots.

“We wanted to give them a little more mileage instead of a one-time integration in the show in a way that would be recurring,” said Katherine Johnson, senior vice president of Turner Entertainment promotions and marketing.

The spots, produced internally with a comedic edge consistent with the series, will appear in episodes of the sitcom and pop up in other TBS primetime shows as well. The choice of the series and the characters fits Alltel’s aim to reach a younger demographic. Alltel Wireless is also getting plugs in tune-in ads promoting the “My Boys” season debut on June 12.

Meanwhile, Alltel is boosting the new “My Boys” season with integrated in-store promotions on plasma TVs.

In another deal, TBS’s “The Bill Engvall Show,” based on the popular comedian himself, will feature product integrations with State Farm and Sonic in its second season.

State Farm won’t be directly integrated in the plot of an episode about safe teen driving, but it will have billboards leading into 30-second spots in the show. It’s intended as a more subtle, contextual integration.

“State Farm wanted to surround themselves with something that was relevant,” Johnson said.

Sonic also will be woven into the plotline of the popular family comedy when one of the Pearson family children walks in the house from a date carrying a Sonic soda container.

Turner recently announced two product integration for Dodge and AT&T Wireless in two-minute episodes of an ad series dubbed “Lucky Chance” during episodes of “Bones” and “Law & Order.”

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