NEW YORK Syfy has inked its first integration pact with a travel client, signing Orbitz.com as a full-season sponsor of the unscripted series Destination Truth.
Per terms of the deal, Orbitz.com will receive 18 exposures over the course of Destination Truth’s nine-episode third-season run. Each week, host Josh Gates will turn to Orbitz.com to book his travel itinerary, in an integration that will include visual acknowledgment of the Orbitz site as well as a vocal cue.
The Orbitz.com partnership also marks the first time the network will have engineered an integration for one of its unscripted programs, said Chris Czarkowski, vp, ad sales, Syfy. Since July 7, when the 17-year-old Sci Fi Channel brand morphed into the less restrictive Syfy, the network has been busy trying to change the perceptions of viewers and advertisers.
“People always think of Syfy as a destination for scripted programming, but the new theme and tagline allow us to get out there and talk to our clientele on a much broader basis,” said Czarkowski. “The evolution really opened the aperture.”
Along with the twice-weekly integrations, Orbitz.com will also receive the usual trappings of an on-air package, including banners, tagged tune-ins and a promotional consideration nod during the end credits. There are no digital extensions tied to the buy.
“The integration is a natural fit for the series, which is so grounded in travel and exploration,” Czarkowski said, adding that the network consciously took pains to ensure that the placement is as organic as possible. “We never want it to look like a blatant endorsement or go too far over the top. Our goal is to protect the integrity of the client and the viewer’s experience.”
Boston-based Mullen, an Interpublic Group shop, is Orbitz.com’s agency of record, handling media buying and planning. Trailer Park Studios, Los Angeles, is Orbitz’ creative partner.
In its second season, Destination Truth averaged 1.6 million total viewers, per Nielsen, of which 992,000 were members of the 25-54 demo, while 943,000 were part of the 18-49 set. The series returns Wednesday, Sept. 9.
According to SNL Kagan estimates, Syfy took in $423.9 million in ad sales revenue last year, up 8 percent from $392.7 million in 2007.