January 21st, 2009

In ‘Trust Me,’ a Fake Agency Really Promotes

By Stuart Elliott
The New York Times

“Trust Me,” is about a Chicago agency that competes against nonfictional firms like Leo Burnett and DDB. In another realistic wrinkle, actual products are being written into the scripts of episodes — including some, like the Dove line of hair care products sold by Unilever, that are also sponsors of the series.

“Trust Me” offers another example of a growing trend known as branded entertainment, as marketers seek to insinuate themselves into programming to counter the growing ability of viewers to avoid or ignore traditional commercials. For some, it will be a meta moment to watch a TV show about the ad business that is taking care of business while seeking to garner ratings.

Unilever is taking part with two brands, Dove hair care and Bertolli food products. Dove makes its initial appearance in the second episode, scheduled for Feb. 2, in which a principal character, a hotshot copywriter played by Monica Potter, is assigned to create ads for Dove hair care products like shampoo.

The products of two other giant marketers — Anheuser-Busch InBev and General Motors — will also be written into “Trust Me” scripts. There is a passing reference to Bud Light beer in the first episode.

Read the full article here.

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