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Driving the Brandwagon

Branded entertainment executives gathered at the American Association of Advertising Agencies convention in Orlando for a panel entitled “Deconstructing Branded Entertainment: Understanding the Deal.”

But the executives bristled at having their business branded, and inspected, as something new, and they weren't deconstructing any deals.

Those execs were Magna Global’s Sunta Izzicupo; MindShare Entertainment’s David Lang; and MediaVest USA’s Brian Terkelsen.

Terkelson, whose division helped structure product placement in America’s Next Top Model for clients including Cover Girl, said that although there needed to be a uniform language to discuss branded entertainment, the practice should no longer be viewed as a mere side note or a new phenomenon. “We’ve all been painted with 'this branded entertainment' [label]," he said, countering that there has been product placement from day one, citing those dancing cigarette boxes from TV’s early days.

But Terkelson suggested those boxes' days are long over. Although he hesitated to utter the much overused industry term, he said branded entertainment deals do need to become more 'organic.' “The last thing we want to do is slap a logo on a show.”

Terkelson even questioned why a panel was even necessary, saying advertisers would not hold panels about the fact that they do 30 second spots.

One thing everybody seemed to agree on was that TV networks are open these days to branded entertainment deals.