Long John Silver’s Bites on Discovery's Shark Week


Yum Brands’ fast-fish chain Long John Silver’s has re-upped as a sponsor of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week franchise, buying on-air tune-in spots designed to lure viewers into trying its new Shrimp Trio meal.

Co-branded 15- and 30-second spots for the programming tent pole and the Louisville-based chain went live this week and will remain on Discovery’s air through August 8. Created in-house by the Discovery Studios unit, the spots feature two regular Joes enthusing about Shark Week and LJS’s $5.99 shrimp offering.

“You know, when you’re watching Shark Week you want someone to share it with...but when you have a Long John Silver’s Shrimp Trio, not so much,” says one of the actors as he steers a yellow LJS bag out of his friend’s reach. A great white shark is then seen breaching with a seal clamped in its jaws, and as a pile of shrimp cascades from a colander, a voiceover relates the price point.

The spots conclude with a title card that reads “Happy Shark Week” and the Discovery logo and tag line (“The World is Just Awesome”).

The :30 spot will run eight times on Discovery Channel, while the shorter cut will appear 43 times on the flagship network as well as sibling outlets TLC and Animal Planet. As they are designed to echo the themes set forth by the programming, the :30s are running in A-positions and leading out of commercial breaks.

According to Discovery senior vp, ad sales Scott Felenstein
, the client quadrupled its year-ago commitment. “Last year, they took a baby step. This year, they’re stepping up in a big way,” Felenstein said, adding that there are “great synergies between the brand and the type of food they sell and the Shark Week programming.”

Felenstein noted that the TV-exclusive deal was a bit of an anomaly for Discovery, which does brisk business on the digital side of the ledger as well. “They seem to be very focused on TV this year,” he said. “Hopefully next year we can pull it all together and carve out some space for them on both platforms.”

Despite the ravages of the Great Recession, Discovery Channel put up huge ad sales numbers in 2009, taking in $550.3 million in client dollars, down just 1 percent from the prior-year haul ($556.6 million), per Kantar Media estimates.

In advance of last year’s Shark Week stunt, LJS bought banners and skyscrapers on Discovery’s dedicated microsite. The company also assumed ownership of the online “Sharkrunners” game, which allowed users to virtually track and observe sharks in their natural habitat.

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