LATV: Branded Integrations Can Hurt a Brand

Los Angeles -- While it is an exploding business, branded integrations within television shows can actually have an adverse affect on a brand’s equity, according to a panel discussion of industry insiders moderated by B&C executive editor Melissa Grego at the National Association for Television Program Executives’ LATV Festival here Thursday.

The conversation centered around how an integration that is not within the spirit of the brand’s intended message can actually be harmful.

“You run the risk of tarnishing your brand, which has cultural equity,” said Douglas Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment.

The risk comes if the integrations are not presented in an organic fashion.

“If the audience is getting sold something when they are supposed to be getting entertainment, that’s a sure-fire way to lose audience,” Madison Road Entertainment managing partner Jak Severson said.

And the panel agreed that for a successful integration, a brand has to get involved very early in the creative process and weave itself into the natural makeup of a series.

“You have to stay within the mythology of the show, and that’s what is getting missed in some cases,” said Rolfe Auerbach, president of Brand-In Entertainment

Producer Scott Sternberg (Hey Paula, The Academy) said branded integration has become such an important part of getting products green-lit that he suggested that aspiring producers should have integration ideas when they come to pitch a concept.

“Think about what brand can marry with your idea and bring that with you,” he said.

To watch NATPE's video reports from the LATV Festival, click here.