Ford and Subway Sign On for Telemundo’s First Original Music Drama

Think Empire, en espanol

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As Spanish-language TV in the U.S. continues to move away from the sappy storylines of the telenovela, one network is banking on a combination of music, action and romance to grab viewers.

Telemundo, NBCUniversal’s fast-growing Spanish-language network, will debut Guerra de Idolos (War of Idols) tonight. Think Empire, but in Spanish.

The network has landed Ford and Subway as series sponsors to include promotions and bonus content apart from the linear TV show for the highly digitally engaged audience.

“The series’ sponsors will play an instrumental role in telling the unique story of Guerra de Idolos through innovative multiplatform promotions,” said Laura Molen, evp of Lifestyle and Hispanic advertising sales for NBCUniversal. The series was announced at the network’s upfront presentation last May, which is when the search for sponsors that wanted to be part of something beyond a traditional 30-second spot began.

Ford’s new F-150, Mustang and Explorer vehicles will get starring roles. Characters in the series will be seen riding in the Explorer. Others will use Mustang’s interactive and voice-activated SYNC 3 technology and the F-150’s Pro-Trailer Backup Assist.

Subway’s integration will include bonus content taking viewers inside the show’s music studio.

Telemundo’s transition over the past several years to creating content uniquely for the U.S. Hispanic audience is paying off. Long the No. 2 player in Spanish-language TV, the NBCU network has nearly caught up to long-dominant Univision in total viewers. In the most recent quarter, Telemundo was up 12 percent in prime time in the coveted 18-49 demographic, while Univision was down 10 percent from the same quarter a year prior.

“We are very excited about this innovative and collaborative venture to bring Telemundo’s first original musical series to the Hispanic audience,” said Molen.

@ChrisAriens Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.