CBS Ad Sales Creates Group to Bolster Its Branded Entertainment and Integrations

Brands don’t need to wait for the upfront to work with CBS Eye Max

CBS hopes for more integrations like Heineken's sponsorship of The Late Late Show With James Corden's on-set bar. Terence Patrick/CBS
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CBS is looking to increase its brand partnerships outside of traditional ad buys, creating a group called CBS Eye Max that will focus solely on branded entertainment and integrations across all dayparts and platforms.

Linda René, evp of primetime sales of innovation, will lead the group. Her team will work with programming execs at the network and CBS Studios, showrunners and clients to create new opportunities on CBS and CBS Interactive’s digital properties.

“We are constantly pushing to elevate the level of creativity for clients and audiences, and we are always looking to do more and more outside of the box,” said Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at CBS, in a statement. “CBS Eye Max combines the creativity and expertise of our branded integration daypart leaders, under a proven innovator like Linda, and is designed to maximize the clients’ relationship with CBS and to maximize their reach, effectiveness and investment.”

Also joining René on CBS Eye Max: Antoinette Clarke, vp, branded entertainment and media innovation for CBS Daytime; Cristin DeVries, vp, branded entertainment and media innovation for CBS Primetime; and Despina Legakis, director of branded entertainment and media innovation for CBS Late Night. Those three will also continue to oversee integrations within their respective dayparts.

CBS already has integrations throughout its schedule in all dayparts, but sees an opportunity for growth.

“There is a world of opportunity for branded and custom content across the CBS Television Network and our digital properties,” said René in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with Antoinette, Cristin and Despina, our clients and the creative community to bring many more new, fresh and innovative ideas to life in ways that will make people take notice, while also bringing incremental dollars to the table.”

Ross will take CBS Eye Max into the upfront, but clients can begin working with the group immediately.

As the upfront approaches, networks are looking to bolster their partnerships with brands outside traditional 30-second spots. NBCUniversal is rolling out several new ad formats during the upfront, as the company will air 10 percent fewer ads in its prime-time original shows this fall.

Led by Viacom, several networks are trying their hand at festivals this year, opening a new revenue stream to lure brands and fans.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.