Its hard to know if viewers are watching commercials that invade their shows and movies. Those two minute or longer breaks are the perfect time to switch the channel, go to the bathroom, look away from the TV to a tablet or smartphone, and other distractions to avoid watching those dreaded ads. But make the advertising part of the show without hurting the credibility or momentum of the plot, and it becomes a very compelling win-win outcome. Branded content, native advertising, and sponsorship done well can work great; done poorly, it is one long ad.
It seems that Scripps has found a terrific content sponsorship opportunity to coincide with Veterans Day. Per today's NY Times, Scripps "is preparing an hourlong special — centered on the celebration of the
Hawaiian homecoming of a wounded serviceman — that is to run on all six
of its cable channels and be sponsored by major marketers like ConAgra Foods, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Union Pacific." As an indication of production integration into the format of the program, "There is a glimpse during the trailer of a scene from the special in
which members of the military are served food bearing logos of a ConAgra
brand, Marie Callender’s, that became the presenting sponsor of 'A
Hero’s Welcome' as part of a cause-marketing initiative, the Comforts From Home Project, which benefits the U.S.O. and the USO2GO program."
A great cause, a great partner, and a great commitment to an important segment of our population. Most important, it seems that the use of the product does not overwhelm the core element of the show. This content sponsorship and promotion nicely extends across all of Scripps' available platforms. Using its media synergy, ads are also being placed on its two magazine brands. Hopefully, interest in the programming will translate to viewership and more branded content opportunities will emerge.