ABC’s Desperate Housewives is still on the air, and in order to remain that way the show’s writers have created an integrated ad campaign that will tie in the feel and drama of the program with advertising.
Reports Entertainment Weekly:
“ABC has recruited Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to produce a series of eight commercials for Sprint that will unfold as a weekly soap opera. The goal? Pausing the fast-forward phenomenon.”
The Sprint work is not unlike a 4-episode miniseries produced for NBC’s Heroes last year. Again, the spin-off included the same kind of dramatic events of the main program without conflicting with characters.
Without getting into what this kind of blurring means for the overall state of television, consider the distinction that’s made when sponsored content is separated from obviously-sponsored content. The show itself, though paid for by advertising, is relatively free of distracting ads. So when a 30-second commercial comes along and it looks and feels just like the actual show, the hope is that viewers will refrain from fast-forwarding. Channel-checking. Getting a beer.
But what does it say about the content itself? For one, that the storyline wasn’t good enough to be part of the show. Or that the characters weren’t good enough to make it as cast members. Indeed, two soap opera actors are taking lead in the ads. Whether viewers will notice or care about these distinctions is yet to be seen.