Spike TV Goes Long With Brand Integrations


The aspiring pro-football players in the new series 4th and Long—debuting this week on Spike TV—will hit the field in Reebok jerseys, recharge with EAS Myoplex energy drinks and shovel in a crate’s worth of Popeyes chicken. After a day of hitting the turf, they might even crack open a Miller Lite or two.

These are the brands that will surround the 12 contestants who’ll compete, elimination-style, over the course of the 10-episode show for a chance to play with the Dallas Cowboys, courtesy of lightning-fast deals put together by the MTV Networks Entertainment Group. The division, which oversees brand integrations for Spike, Comedy Central, TV Land and CMT, has become a prolific matchmaker of brands and entertainment properties, having dropped Doritos into The Colbert Report to placing Procter & Gamble’s Gillette in Spike’s two-minute game show, 120 Live.

While arrangements with blue-chip brands can be painstaking and complicated, executives at the group have managed to cut the turnaround time between kicking off talks with advertisers to embedding the products in the shows. Though the speed record is still the Doritos/Colbert deal (48 hours from ink to show), the 4th and Long pact was a sprint to the end zone. It took only about four weeks from the show’s getting its green light to the start of shooting—on location at the famed Cotton Bowl—with the brands in place.

The quick-drying ink is a sign of the times, according to the division’s executive-vp sales Jeff Lucas, who said that marketers are lunging for prominent placements in male-skewing shows, and are willing to jump on the right opportunity with little advance notice.

“More people know what it takes now to create a good brand integration—they’re much more sophisticated than even a few years ago, and they know the right questions to ask,” Lucas said. “They certainly understand the value.”

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