In a “Back To The Future” moment, we learn that Procter & Gamble’s venerable Tide brand will be the sponsor of a new made for mobile broadband series through GoTV Networks, a 10-parter called “Crescent Heights”. A bona fide Sopa Opera, retooled for the new millenium! For the uninitiated, the name “Soap Opera” stems from the original 1930s daytime radio serials sponsored by companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Pepsodent.
In the 1940s, Tide itself was sponsor of several high-profile serials (some of which could be characterised as soaps) including the “Red Skelton Show”, “The Right To Happiness” and “Perry Mason”.
“Crescent Heights” will not air on NBC (or any TV station) but will be available mobile and online through Tide’s Web site. Parenthetically – this isn’t the first time that P&G has been involved in a branded online video series … the show “Released”, presented by Dawn, featured on the P&G Classic Soaps channel through AOL.
I haven’t watched the show yet but it sounds lke a great idea … a great example of non-interruptive (one hopes) marketing, and even Branded Utility. I am still wondering about the model … a press release talks about Tide being “integrated into a scripted drama”. One hopes the action doesn’t just revolve around washday!
GoTV’s Daniel Tibbetts is quoted as saying “Our goal is to build brand affinity for Tide by producing high-quality programming that resonates with Tide’s target audience and drive consumers to [Tide.com]. We’re confident ‘Crescent Heights’ will deliver on that promise.” So he’s focusing more on “association” than “integration per se.
Suzanne Watson, Tide’s Brand Manager focuses on the medium: “We’re thrilled to partner with GoTV to deliver ‘Crescent Heights’ and be a part of leading the forefront of mobile technology.”
Once again – great idea and kudos to P&G (no mention of their agency that I could find). I will reserve final judgment until I have watched the show!
UPDATE: OK I still haven’t watched the show (sorry), but AdRants has this to say: “Endless product promotion aside, we admire the series’ capacity to remind us so vividly of Saved by the Bell: The New Class — except without the charm of the previous class’ success to leech off of.” Adrants also noticed also a rather badly faked show message board(!)