Advertisers Sink Teeth Into 'Sharknado 3'

Advertisers are getting into the Sharknado spirit. 

Syfy’s fishy saga of airborne shark attacks will air its third installment Wednesday night and sponsors from a broad range of categories have not only bought in but have gotten their brands and products integrated either into the movie itself or the promotions surrounding it.

Among the advertisers on Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! are Pizza Hut, Doritos,, Jack Links (returning from Sharknado 2), Tracfone and Benefit Cosmetics.

Syfy’s parent company Comcast is also in deep. Its Xfinity cable TV brand is integrated into the movie, with a shark seen crashing through the signage of one of its storefronts. And the movie reaches its climax at the Universal theme park in Orlando, also a Comcast unit.

Peter Lazarus, senior VP of ad sales at NBCUniversal, says Sharknado’s appeal to advertisers has been growing.

Sharknado 1 was kind of lightening in a bottle. We didn’t know what we had until in the middle of it Twitter blew up. Sharknado 2, we kind of knew what we had but people wanted to see the track record of success, which we ultimately had,” Lazarus said. “Now with Sharknado 3, everyone gets it. They understand how fun it can be and what the phenomenon is from a social media perspective and what thing it’s going to be tonight from a television perspective and advertisers gravitated to it to find unique ways to integrate their brands into it.”

Some brands, like Jack Links, are integrated directly in to the movie. Jack Links is also associated with a cameo by David Hasselhoff. Branded content is also used to tie other brands, like, into promotions for the movie.

Lazarus declined to say what kind of ratings NBCU was promising advertisers, but said it expects to outpace last year, when it registered a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.9 million total viewers.

In terms of revenue, “we’ve seen our average deal size increase as sponsorship elements have increased,” Lazarus said. “We feel they’re getting more bang for their buck and we have the ability to give them more and to utilize all the television opportunities that we have and all the online and social opportunities we’re able to put together.”

Subway is a returning advertiser, and is integrated into the movie. But a cameo by Jared Fogle, a spokesman for the brand, was cut because of an investigation of Fogle by the FBI.

Sharknado 3 stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Also appearing are Mark Cuban, Bo Derek, Jerry Springer, Bill Engvall and Lorenzo Lamas.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.