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BizReport : Research archives : August 11, 2010

New TV series auditioning advertisers, not actors

It's a whole new brand of product placement, and an interesting opportunity for brand marketers. A new television series, aimed to launch in the replacement TV season of Spring 2011, is looking for something a little different. Rather than scouting for actors and actresses, the production crew is scouting for a few good. . .um, advertisers to 'star' in the show. Why advertisers? Because the NASCAR-inspired series, whether fictional or in real life, is all about advertisers.

by Kristina Knight

And, yes, there will be actors and actresses. But the advertisers tapped to become part of the series will have the ability to create a kind of character from their brands.

Called "The Ride", the television series will be set in the Race City USA area of North Carolina. In real life, advertisers become entrenched in their drivers' performances and this series wants to portray a fictional reality of race drivers and teams that is as realistic as it gets. Which is where the brand advertisers come in.

The production crew, V1 Entertainment Films, wants to talk to brand managers and maketing execs in a plethora of ad categories from automotive to consumer packaged goods. And don't worry, brands, you'll have your say. The brands chosen to become part of the team for the show will work directly with the production staff to ensure safety.

"The advertising sponsors are important characters in the storyline of 'The Ride', so we've got to get it right," said Aspen Hughes, V1 Entertainment Films CEO.

But, will brands recoup their investment in the project? Since they'll be part of the series rather than sponsoring the series through commercials - which are increasingly ignored or fast-forwarded by DVR-using viewers, it is likely they will.

"[Exposure] in new mediums, such as the online virtual world of Second Life, and the tagging and linking of products on consumer-generated media sites like YouTube, and opportunities offered by 'The Ride' are not only economical but extremely effective, especially in reaching that elusive young-male demographic," said Hughes.

Veteran screenwriter Tony Sommo will write the script and 'Breaking Bad' director Giancarlo Esposito will direct. Brands interesting in becoming part of the characterization of the new series should click here.

Tags: online video, television advertising, V1 Entertainment Films, video advertising, video clips

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