AICP Honors Brand-Integration Efforts

NEW YORK The Association for Commercial Producers honored seven examples of brand integration, ranging from BMW’s Internet Films to AT&T Wireless’ text-message vote option on American Idol at a ceremony today.

The AICP’s first brand-integration honors were held before the AICP Show, which takes place tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Honorees included BMW of North America and Fallon in Minneapolis’ Internet Films, such as The Hostage; Anheuser-Busch’s short films, including Best Man; AT&T’s branded lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; the use of AT&T Wireless phones and text messaging on American Idol; Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York and Coca-Cola’s work with Interscope Records to feature recording artists Maya and Common in a TV spot and video; the Pepsi and Austin Powers in Goldmember dual promotion of the movie and the brand, including TV spots and product placement; and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London’s Johnnie Walker-branded short films Life Journeys.

A panel made up of executives involved in the creation of the honored efforts discussed them. The panel included John Hegarty, chairman and worldwide creative director of BBH, who noted that his agency’s short-film idea came out of the media department, not creative. Charles Garland, partner of 19 Entertainment and one of the creators of American Idol, discussed the difficulties his company had in finding a network to go for the idea. Michael Davies, executive producer of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, said product placement should be seamless, but not so seamless that it is not noticed at all. Bruce Redditt, svp and head of the product-placement division at Omnicom Group, spoke about the Pepsi/Austin Powers collaboration, in which the Austin Powers character appeared in a TV spot, and Pepsi products were placed in the movie.

“The brand helped sell the movie, and vice versa,” Redditt said.

Other panel members included Ewen Cameron, CEO of Berlin Cameron, and Dave Lubars, president and chief operating officer of Fallon.

All panelists agreed it can be difficult to measure the effect of branded integration but said it was necessary for a future in which the 60-second spot is becoming increasingly marginalized.

James McDowell, vp of marketing at BMW of North America, and James Schumacker, vp of creative development and innovation at A-B, were keynote speakers at the honors and discussed their companies’ short films.

“These are examples we can learn from and be inspired by,” said Matt Miller, AICP president and CEO, to close the morning session.