Continuing Commercial Strategy, MTV, Pepsi Develop Reality Series

MTV is working with soda company Pepsi on a reality “micro-series” as a companion to hit reality show The Hills.

The cable network said it is engaged in a commercial strategy to “experiment and create new commercial experiences for viewers.”

The strategy effectively blurs the line between commercial and entertainment programming. Most recently, MTV and Axe, the deodorant brand owned by Unilever, launched The Gamekillers, a faux reality dating show that features Axe branding throughout and was developed by Axe’s ad agency, BBH, in conjunction with MTV.

In the case of Fashion: The Life, the micro-series Pepsi and MTV are developing, branding will be integrated within the program itself, as well as on associated Web sites. The series is part of Pepsi’s global brand-restyle campaign and also a means to promote new Web properties for MTV. FreedomZone, a company that specializes in developing branded entertainment content, is credited as co-developer.

“Podbusters,” or one- to two-minute-long episodes, will air during The Hills on MTV, with the goal of driving people to MTV’s newly developed fashion site, The Look Right Now, where full-length three- to 10-minute episodes will be featured in a co-branded section dedicated to the show. Pepsi, as part of the agreement, becomes the charter sponsor of the new Web site.

Pepsi will promote the show by including it in its “Pepsi Xtras” newsletter and featuring its own fashion site,, on 500 million Pepsi cans. Fashion: The Life will have a presence on Pepsi’s site, as well.

The micro-series will also be available on MTV video-on-demand, attached to Hills content, and the complete series will be included on the season-three Hills box set when it is released. In addition, the series will be promoted on MTV’s Virtual Hills, a Second Life-esque virtual world where viewers will be able to interact with the designers in the show and purchase clothes created by them in-world. Users will also be able to design their own apparel, with one winner going to a Fashion: The Life “virtual party.”

Fashion: The Life follows three budding fashion designers as they make their way to the MAGIC fashion and apparel trade show in Las Vegas. One of the contestants, Danny, is the designer of Pepsi’s clothing line, dubbed PepsiStyle, the other two contestants are Steve, who doubles as a DJ, and Luam, a designer/choreographer.

The micro-series launched Oct. 8 and will continue through Nov. 26.