E!’s ‘People’s Choice’ Connects Show, Sponsors With Fans

With E!’s first presentation of the People’s Choice Awards Sunday night, NBCUniversal is making changes in the show to encourage more fan involvement and help sponsors connect with those fans.

Advertisers eBay, Subaru, Metro by T-Mobile and Zales have signed up for integrated sponsorships during the Red Carpet and the Awards telecast.

E!, known for its award-show red-carpet coverage of arriving celebrities, will exclusively air E! Live From the Red Carpet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.,m. ET/PT. The telecast will be enhanced with People's Choice awards being presented on the Red Carpet.

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Instead of putting its cameras away following the red carpet as it usually does, E! will continue with the People’s Choice Awards ceremony itself, which will be simulcast by NBCU’s other cable networks USA, Syfy, Bravo and Universo.

The award show will be followed by a live edition of E!’s new talk show Busy Tonight, featuring Busy Philipps, who will have Tina Fey as her guest.

The network is looking to make this awards show more E! centric.

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“One of our ambitions was to build on the equity of the People’s Choice Awards, but to really re-imagine this in a new way for our audience and to make a virtue of the fans, because this is the only awards show that’s voted on by the people,” said Jen Neal, executive VP, marketing and executive producer, live events for E!. You’ll see fan engagement and active fans in a new way with a broadcast on E!.”

The show will be more intimate with some surprise moments. It is also designed to celebrate all of the year’s moments in pop culture, Neal said.

The awards will be presented in a new venue, Barker Hangar. “The space gives us a blank canvas to work with,” Neal said.

The show will also take advantage of E!’s digital platforms and social media via Twitter, Facebook and Twitter.

NBCU has been pushing advertising innovations to hold onto viewers, who are increasingly choosing to watch in ad-free environments. It has built special executions for some People’s Choice sponsors.

“NBCUniversal is laser-focused on improving the consumer experience in our programming, it makes the viewing more enjoyable and improves the effectiveness of the ads for our clients, a win-win for all involved,” said Laura Molen, president, advertising sales and partnerships, NBCUniversal. “We’re excited to create opportunities with brand moments that reach consumers at every touchpoint – from picture-in-picture, social polls, network crossovers and content in commercial time - for this impressive roster of brands and align with their campaign goals in unique ways.”

“We worked really closely with our ad sales partners,” Neal added. "We had conversations early on to make sure there were unique experiences that help the show and drive engagement with their brands.”

With the special integrations, the ad load for the People Choice Awards is expected to be lower than most other award shows.

For eBay, E! talent will give audiences a sneak peek at what’s going on backstage and the online retailer will break two hot deals, contextually aligned to the show, during commercial breaks. eBay also engaged E! sister network Telemundo for additional campaign elements.

“Inspired by what’s happening around them, shoppers turn to eBay to find the latest in pop culture, fashion and entertainment,” said Suzy Deering, chief marketing officer for eBay Americas and global brand lead. “By teaming up with E!, we look forward to offering their viewers instantly shoppable experiences during the People’s Choice Awards, connecting them with inventory on our platform, from the latest trending items to hard-to-find styles.”

Metro by T-Mobile will bring E! fans beyond the Red Carpet and on the awards stage with a sponsored musical performance from pop star, Rita Ora, who will perform a song from her debut U.S. album Phoenix, dropping Nov. 23. The sponsored performance will be live streamed on Snapchat's Discover page, the first live musical performance on the platform.

Subaru will use its presence in E!’s Live from the Red Carpet to promote the all-new 3-row Subaru Ascent. The automaker will place the SUV on the red carpet and have exclusive sponsorship of the arrival cam. To give viewers more access to celebrities on the red carpet, Subaru will feature brand messaging via picture-in-picture advertising.

“At Subaru of America, we are always looking for unique opportunities to capture the attention of the consumer, particularly when we are launching new vehicles like the Subaru Ascent,” said Jack Kelly, national integrated media manager at Subaru of America. “We partnered with the People’s Choice Awards and E! Entertainment to leverage unique advertising formats, such as P-I-P, to enhance the consumer’s viewing experience while making a positive brand impact.”

Zales will work with E!, employing network talent, for the multiplatform “Be Our Stylist” campaign. Fans will vote on which Zales’ jewelry pieces E! talent will wear the evening of the show, leading up to a red carpet reveal that night.

After the Busy Tonight show following the Awards Show, E! News will be covering the winners.

When the long evening is over E! Will be having an afterparty. “That will not be on television,” Neal said.

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.