In a first of its kind deal, Starcom and Turner will partner for an unspecified number of brand integrations on TBS, TNT, truTV and Adult Swim for a full year. Also part of the pact: a research study that will focus on the overall effectiveness of integrated advertising.
“This limited, long-term partnership will allow us not only to create stronger brand integrations, but also to increase our understanding of which type of integrations work best within an entertainment environment," said Donna Speciale, president of Turner Entertainment and young adults ad sales.
For the last few years, cable networks have played up the importance of product placement. In a world where programmatic buying is overtaking digital content and digital content is threatening TV's market share, it is vital for networks to demonstrate a distinction between their inventory and the spots and dots for sale across the web and on tablets and mobile. Integrated ads have shown greater effectiveness than traditional 30-second spots overall, and Turner is anxious to take advantage of that.
The deal sounds as though it could include Turner's slate of scripted originals—or at least won't rule them out. "Writers and producers for TBS, TNT, truTV and Adult Swim’s live-action originals will now have access to Starcom’s portfolio of leading brands," said the announcement. Unscripted integrations are traditionally much easier to wrangle than the scripted variety. But well-executed scripted integrations tend to stand out, so access to Turner's scripted talent would be enviable.
"We all know that content is the fuel for conversation and engagement," said Amanda Richman, Starcom's president of investment and activation. "Starcom's partnership with Turner truly brings science to the art of brand integration, empowering our clients to grow their commitment to content that works."