Conan O'Brien's TBS show proving more than friendly to brands

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Nov 17 2010


We've now seen the first brand integration into Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS talk show, and if this is any indication of how marketers like AT&T and Microsoft will share the screen with the lanky host, we say bring it. General Motors, one of the flagship sponsors of the new 11 p.m. chat fest, got a cheeky throwback segment Monday to introduce its "20 Pine Tree Air Fresheners in 20 Nights" sweepstakes. The contest gives away 2011 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in which to hang those "mega-fragrant" deodorizers. With help from audience members and/or ringers in the crowd, O'Brien and sidekick Andy Richter did their best Monty Hall (or would it be Carol Merrill?). They chatted about the 10 airbags, Bluetooth capability, MP3 player and other features of the car, which sells for "less than $17,000 MSRP," while admiring the on-set vehicle. O'Brien said it's so well-equipped for its size that it's nicknamed "the Seth Green." Advertisers including Coca-Cola and News Corp. are paying between $30,000 and $40,000 for 30-second spots on the show, according to The New York Times, putting it in league with rates for Leno and Letterman. Those who'll get product placement and the Coco treatment should consider it money well spent.

What does Conan O'Brien have to do with the film 'Unstoppable'?

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Nov 12 2010


What does Conan O'Brien have in common with the combustible, out-of-control train from the Fox action thriller Unstoppable? Not much, I'd say, but the studio and TBS have linked the two anyway in a commercial that's airing this week on O'Brien's new late-night chat show, Conan. "Go from 190 pounds of talk-show host," the ad says in bold type, with no voiceover or dialogue, "to 1,000,000 tons of steel." Get it? Neither do I. If the spot means to say that both are, well, unstoppable, then I could grasp the idea. O'Brien has risen from the ashes of a failed stint on The Tonight Show, and he's more popular than ever. But (no real spoiler here) the train in the movie, opening Friday, actually is stoppable. (That's what our heroes, Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, will spend two tense hours doing.) The growing trend of mingling TV-show content and advertising, so that viewers are less likely to fast-forward through the breaks, is working in some cases. It's even engaging when it's cleverly done, like the recent zombie-themed Toyota Corolla commercial that aired during AMC's The Walking Dead. But anything that can be copied can be copied poorly. Sorry, Coco, I'm all for seeing you plastered across every available piece of TBS media, but stop it with the Unstoppable crossovers.



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