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Branded Promotions Take the Pizza Roll?

Entertainment-branded promotions are a great way to generate excitement around your brand. They provide a topic of conversation and have the potential to generate a great deal of social media buzz.

I’ve been in the licensing business for almost twenty years and in the promotional space for ten. Many of you know that I started my promotional career managing Burger King’s kids’ meal calendar. At that time, we were partnering with major movie releases like Spider-Man, Shrek and Star Wars: Episode 3.

We also considered other types of entertainment-based equities including TV shows (SpongeBob SquarePants), toy lines (Bratz) and video games (Activision). These days, entertainment-based promotional programs are still going strong, though the landscape has definitely changed. Jack in the Box has eliminated their kids' meal program altogether, and Disney, after ending their 10-year deal with McDonald’s, no longer ties into any youth-targeted QSR promotions. But there is still quite a bit of activity going on.

Just in the last month or so, we have seen partnerships between Denny's and the upcoming Hobbit film, Dodge and Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy for the Durango and Totino’s and WWE. Interestingly you will note that each of these programs includes vastly different elements. Promotions can include sweepstakes, coupon giveaways, product integration into advertising and on packaging, product placement in the entertainment vehicle itself and other tactics to raise awareness and generate increased word of mouth exposure.

Some partners require a licensing fee for the use of their brand and others are simply interested in media exposure. It depends purely on the objectives of the brand. As you all probably already know, most movie studios are driving for an increased number of “butts in seats” which may be achieved via significant advertising exposure. Many evergreen brands, however, don’t need the exposure as their awareness is already high enough; these brands are more interested in licensing fees.

Regardless of whether there is a fee involved or not, the most important thing to keep in mind when putting these programs together is that they need to be symbiotic, meaning that both parties need to benefit in some way. Increased exposure, revenue, whatever it may be, both parties need to feel like they got a good deal.

Maria Bertrand