The Voice Soars With Unilever Sponsorship

NBC in the ‘Clear’ with shampoo brand deal

CeeLo Green may be flaking on The Voice, but a new sponsorship deal ensures that fans of NBC’s musical competition series won’t be left scratching their heads.

As it prepares to launch its sixth cycle Monday night—as was the case last spring, Usher and Shakira will spell Green and Christina Aguilera—The Voice has signed its first beauty brand sponsor in Unilever’s Clear Scalp & Hair. Per terms of a season-long deal, NBC will air 13 custom pieces of co-branded content in The Voice (one execution per week), which will be followed by a new 30-second spot featuring Clear spokesmodel Miranda Kerr.

In what’s being billed as the biggest single media partnership for a Unilever hair care brand to date, Clear’s overall weekly exposure on The Voice will clock in at 60 seconds. The linear TV portion of the plan will extend to social media activations (#strongandclear) and a co-branded digital hub.

In addition to the media push, Clear also will serve as the title sponsor of The Voice’s live concert tour, which is slated to touch down in select U.S. venues this summer. Featured artists include Cycle 5 winner Tessanne Chin, as well as runner-up Jacquie Lee, finalist Will Champlin and Cycle 1 alum Dia Frampton.

The four artists also will be featured in the Clear-branded content leading into the 30-second spots. Per Unilever, the singers will use the in-show content to “share the foundation of their inner strength, confidence and resilience.”

The deal was orchestrated by Unilever’s U.S. media buying agency, Mindshare.

“Every element of the partnership was carefully designed to deliver a compelling experience to reach passionate fans of this massively popular program across all touch points,” said Christine Lamson, managing director of strategy, Mindshare. “The magic of a partnership this size only happens when the brand agency, Mindshare Strategy & Investment, partner agencies and NBC are crafting the pieces together.”

According to Dan Lovinger, evp of NBCUniversal’s entertainment advertising sales group, the partnership “demonstrates how NBC and our clients can successfully develop multiple access points for consumers to interact with their favorite content and brands.” Lovinger went on to say that the Clear-Voice match-up is a “great example of why advertisers are choosing to do business across the NBCUniversal portfolio.” 

The new season of The Voice launches tonight at 8 p.m. EST. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Cycle 5 of The Voice averaged 12.6 million viewers and a 3.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, making it the No. 3 broadcast series behind NBC’s Sunday Night Football and the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Cycle 4, the first to feature Usher and Shakira in the spinning chairs, put up slightly higher numbers, averaging a 3.9 in the dollar demo.

Per media buyers, The Voice’s status as live event programming makes it one of the more valuable assets on network TV. Last fall, a 30-second spot in the Monday night show fetched around $265,000 a pop, while the average unit cost in Tuesday’s show was around $230,000.

Green announced that he was leaving The Voice last Wednesday, during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres. “I’m not coming back, guys,” the singer said. “I don’t want to wear out my welcome there … I have so many other things that I want to do. I haven’t released an album in four years.”

His departure from the show doesn’t necessarily translate to a severing of ties with NBC. Green in September 2012 signed a first-look deal to develop scripted and reality projects for the Peacock.