December 1st, 2008

No Ads or All an Ad?

TV Technology

TNT is taking product placement to a new level this week with a complete ad-free series, thanks to extensive product placement.

Mainly, the new series, “Leverage,” stars a Hyundai Genesis (a sedan) along with Timothy Hutton. Also in supporting roles are Hewlett-Packard and DirecTV.

The brands will branch out well beyond the actual TV series. TNT said it will weave each brand through various promotions, “including a commercial-free premiere, interactive consumer experience, product integration and high profile marketing elements.”

The Hyundai will also drive into viewers’ minds through ads in People, Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide.

There are also interactive features at http://www.LeverageHQ.com letting viewers drive the plot by solving mysteries, and they can chase online clues, with a possible real-life cash payout of $100,000 if the mission in the program is complete.

DirecTV and Hewlett-Packard will join Hyundai in the second episode. DirecTV integrations will spotlight its HD sports packages in HD, and an HP laptop will get use from a character.

TNT will feature each sponsor’s brand within series tune-in messages. HP and Hyundai will also both be part of lower-third messaging within each episode.

“We have the unique ability to leverage our strong Turner assets, develop a clever consumer experience, incorporate effective storyline integrations and extend brand awareness to several custom marketing channels, allowing fans of the series to engage with all three brands all season-long,” said Katherine Johnson, senior vice president of Turner Entertainment Promotions and Marketing. “Our partners will play a role in a monster marketing campaign promoting the series premiering on a powerful night of TNT programming.”

The show premieres on TNT Sun., Dec. 7, at 10 p.m.(ET/PT) and then continues in its regular timeslot, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. beginning Dec. 9.

“The product integration package that TNT brought to Hyundai allowed us to feature our all-new flagship Genesis sedan in a unique way that appeals to our target consumers,” said Chris Perry, director, Marketing Communications, Hyundai Motor America.

The series comes just as the FCC completed a round of comments for potential rules on product placement and disclosure of the practice in television. 

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