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Thread: Sponsors Featured on 'Restaurant' Menu

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    Sponsors Featured on 'Restaurant' Menu

    Sponsors Featured on 'Restaurant' Menu

    Fri Jul 18, 3:54 AM ET
    By Jesse Hiestand

    LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Producers of NBC's new reality show "The Restaurant" believe they have cooked up an innovative way to fund a television series.

    The ingredients aren't new -- be they advertiser sponsorship or product placement -- but the six-part program that debuts Sunday brings them together in such a way that NBC doesn't have to pay the standard license fee. And sponsors American Express, Mitsubishi Motors and Coors Brewing Co. get their products and services tightly integrated into the unscripted drama.

    The key is that Reveille, Mark Burnett Prods. and Magna Global Entertainment partnered to respectively create, produce and fund the project so that it minimizes the risk for the network and the sponsors.

    "Advertisers feel like they're operating in a world of diminishing returns as the audience fragments -- they're paying more and getting less," said Robert Riesenberg, executive vp at the Magna division, which develops television programming for clients of Interpublic's Magna Global USA. "They want to be more creative, proactive and experimental and are looking to their agencies to provide the solutions."

    The concern stems from channel proliferation and technologies like TiVo that allow viewers to easily skip past commercials.

    "The Restaurant," a behind-the-scenes look at a restaurant launch, hopes to counter that tendency while testing an emerging funding model.

    "We went to NBC with the clear notion of doing it as advertiser-funded because product placement was much more organic to the concept -- it fit in naturally and even lent credibility to the environment of the restaurant," said Ben Silverman, whose Reveille, a joint venture with Universal Television Group, conceived the show. "I think the audience will decide if it's a good model."

    NBC did not have to pay for the show, it only had to commit to air it.

    "'The Restaurant' was a unique concept both creatively and financially that seemed like a big risk at first and has now blossomed into a smart and groundbreaking unscripted drama," NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker said. "We're thrilled to be part of it."

    The funding fell to the three sponsors lined up by Magna.

    "We're constantly looking for new ways to reach out to new prospects and customers to get our message across," said Kerry Hatch, general manager of the American Express small business service that star chef Rocco DiSpirito uses in the series to get "Rocco's" open in Manhattan. Naturally, DiSpirito also drives a Mitsubishi SUV, and Coors is the featured brew.

    Each of the sponsors paid an equal share of the production, and each is pursuing its own show-related marketing campaign as well.

    Advertising time will be split 50-50 between NBC and the sponsors, while Reveille and Magna will own the show and exploit it worldwide.

    A holdover from the early days of television, sponsorships continue to exist with shows like the Pepsi Smash concert series, which debuted on the WB Network this week.

    "The Restaurant" takes it a step further by involving the advertisers in the show, though they do not have the creative influence that sponsors did in the early days of TV.

    "It's a throwback to the way things were done years ago but also a response to current conditions," said David Bushman, a curator at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York. "People today are just so saturated by advertising that they're just sort of zoning out during commercials."

    For that reason, ad agencies are increasingly immersing themselves in television production and film production, said Susan Nunziata, executive editor of Entertainment Marketing Letter.

    "They're recognizing the fact that consumers have more control over what they're viewing," Nunziata said. "Advertisers also recognize the reach of a hit entertainment property, which is far beyond what a normal TV ad will have."

    Advertisers have greater control of the marketing process when they develop a show from the ground up as opposed to working within the constraints of a particular series or network, said Riesenberg, whose Magna unit is already looking to the next opportunity, that of enabling primetime TV shows to sell products to viewers without interrupting the story flow.

    As shows like "The Restaurant" suggest, reality TV is a perfect fit for product placement because it does not interfere with the creative directions a scripted drama or sitcom might take.

    Mark Burnett saw that potential early on and adopted it into his hit reality series "Survivor."

    "It's a great opportunity for sponsors to have more control and networks to have less risk," Burnett said. "It's a very good business move for them to have integration into the show that can't be TiVo'd out."

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    LG.
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    How many dishes do you think Rocco will manage to work the ingredient DOREEEEETOS into for the menu?

    yeah, Mark Burnette is no stranger to working ads into his reality tv shows.
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    I'll want to see how they work the Mitsubishi sponsorship into it.

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    The article said Rocco drives a Mitsubishi SUV, so maybe he needs to hop in his car and drive across town to find some rare mushrooms in a hurry to rescue the sauce for tonight's special. I dunno, but I think it is the car, so expect to see at least a couple shots outside of the restaurant itself so we can see Rocco's Ride.
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    Leo
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    Or maybe they'll give away a Mitsubishi to some lucky customer.

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    Arrghh! I hated the slimy product endorsements in the first Survivor and they've only gotten more intrusive.
    ("Will the Road Ruler with the Ion livesaver please meet in the Chili's Lounge, and bring your T-Mobile!")
    This cynical marketing maneuver completely destroys credibility and gives advertisers ridiculous expectations.
    Imagine a Wall Street Journal ad rep approaching American Express:
    "OK, we'll take a full-page ad, but only if when your reporter talks to Jack Welch he puts in there something like, 'He took out an American Express card and paid for the lunch.' 'Kay?"
    I knew better than to expect the Hollywood Reporter, that symbol of independent journalism, to bash the concept. But I am surprised that the article didn't include one word of criticism. Shame on them and shame on Mark Burnett for reviving this obnoxious practice.
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    well i picked out one way how they worked mitsubishi into the plot. when they were talking about the cars being towed someone said "i think roccos mitsubishi is next" or something along those lines

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    Quote Originally Posted by uselessdevotion
    well i picked out one way how they worked mitsubishi into the plot. when they were talking about the cars being towed someone said "i think roccos mitsubishi is next" or something along those lines
    And did you count how many times American Express was touted? A customer just happened to give the waiter an AmEx card to buy wine, then there was a tight shot of another AmEx card in a tip jar or something, then there were the many shots of the "Open/Closed" sign brought to us by our friends at American Express.
    Mitsubishi, plugged only in the towing scene, got robbed. Somebody get Burnett!
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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    Ton's of product refrences

    This show is sponsered to the gills...by Am Ex, Mitsubishi and Coors
    Just SOME of the stuff I caught...

    Mitsubishi -

    Shots of Rocco driving his SUV through his old neighboorhood

    When Rocco pulls up to the staffing event...Gideon...the first guy in line...says something like..."chicks look at guys in cars like that." The guy standing next too him gives him a funny look...like "what, it's just a Mitsubishi."

    The towing incident

    Coors -

    During the training staff Rocco orders a waitress wannabe to go out and get some "Coors" and then they do shots.

    The Coors beer guy walks through the place looking for the Kitchen Manager...and they load up on Coors for the bar.

    And the Coor's Twins from their commercials just happen to show up at the restaurant for dinner.


    Am Ex -

    The angry wine drinker orders one of the waiters to go out and by some wine with his "American Express." On his quest...he mentions the
    Am Ex card to the owner of the other restaurant...and when he returns...It sounded to me as if they dubbed in him saying he was sent out to buy wine with a customers "Am Ex"

    Before they can open the doors...Rocco's assistant says they have a stack of invoices to pay...and he tells her to call American Express's "Open"...small business service.

    They open the restaurant with an "Open" sign.


    There are sooooo many product placements in this show...you could turn it into a drinking game. Of course everytime you spot one...you'de have to take a swig of Coors !

    Even though I find the placement really blatent and annoying...I still really dig the show.

  10. #10
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    I don't mind the product placement personally. I think it's an inventive way to finance a show. It also means that since it doesn't cost NBC a dime, they aren't going to be in a hurry to pull it from the schedule.

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