THQ to Star on ‘Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?’

THQ is leveraging its relationship with Mark Burnett Productions to promote its new Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader: Make the Grade videogame launch. THQ, which is in the second year of a licensing deal with the production company, will promote the game on Nov. 14 via heavy product placement.

If the show’s celebrity contestant, who has yet to be revealed, answers the $25,000 question correctly, the entire studio audience will receive free copies of the game. The contestant, as well as the panel of kids, also will receive Nintendo Wii and DS versions of the title.

Footage of the contestant and host Jeff Foxworthy with the game will be shown before commercial breaks and at the end of the show.

The videogame, which hits stores this week, is the second installment of a franchise that has now reached 300,000 units sold, per the company. Overall, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? merchandise generated $40 million in wholesale sales in 2007.

“We worked with Mark Burnett Productions and the licensing team to come up with a creative way to integrate it into the show,” said Nicole Armstrong, vice president of marketing for ValuSoft, a division of THQ. “Bringing it in at one of the prizing levels didn’t feel forced.” Last year, the game was not mentioned during the TV show.

TV ads, created in-house, will air Nov. 14 to Dec. 12 during the show as well as Don’t Forget the Lyrics and the Thanksgiving airing of School of Rock. In-store circulars will support.
THQ spent $33 million on U.S. media last year (not including online initiatives), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. It shelled out $11 million for the first eight months of 2008.