Most networks are using "data" as their big upfronts buzzword this year. For WE tv, it's "David"—as in David Tutera.
The star of the cable network's David Tutera's Celebrations, is at the center of what WE tv is calling its most comprehensive sponsorship opportunity ever: the WE Suite.
The channel, part of AMC Networks, is looking for two to four blue-chip advertisers to partner with David Tutera's Celebrations—and receive what WE calls "unprecedented" access to Tutera himself—through branded opportunities including in-show integrations, exclusive online video, custom webisodes, social media partnerships and off-channel marketing.
Like every other network, WE tv is trying to make a splash in a rapidly changing marketplace and sees WE Suite as its best chance to do it. "We want to be able to continue to offer value to our partners and advertisers, and this was a way to take them beyond the traditional media buy," said Allison Clarke, svp, ad sales. "As we rebranded the network over the past year, we felt that this was the right time, as we're looking to broaden our audience, to do something that could bring a brand in. And that's how we got to this place."
Advertisers who sign on for the WE Suite will in essence get a brand ambassador in Tutera, who's been working with WE tv for eight years—first, with bridal shows My Fair Wedding and David Tutera Unveiled, and now, with David Tutera's Celebrations, which more closely mirrors his day job as a celebrity party planner.
"What we are able to do with David and with our brands is not only to integrate them seamlessly and holistically into the lives of the show, but also across every touchpoint," said Clarke. "We can do anything from events, talent appearances, guerilla marketing or pretty much whatever else the advertiser wants. The great thing about what we're creating is that we are looking to align with a brand to see what their initiatives are and create something that makes sense for them."
For instance, a retailer could appear in the show with Tutera using the company's products to plan his latest party. But that retailer could also sponsor the show's premiere party and use Tutera for in-store and corporate event appearances, along with "anything that they are specifically looking to do off channel," said Clarke.
The network is pursuing advertisers in specific categories that are most compatible with Tutera's show—auto, retail, food and beverage, beauty, and telecom—and hopes to bring a few brands aboard for full-season commitments. "What we're not looking to do is to overload the show by any means," said Clarke. "We want to do something comprehensive and deep with them where it's not looking like the show becomes too cluttered."
And how does Tutera feel about giving himself over to WE Suite advertisers? "He's very excited about it," said Clarke. "He's been nothing but gracious about working with advertisers—willing to help guide what they're looking for."
If the network's first WE Suite is successful, it hopes to expand the concept to other long-running shows, Clarke said. "There is certainly an interest in that from our advertisers."