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

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Nov 12 2010

Conan-unstoppable

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.

Walmart returns for another season of 'My Manny' sitcom shorts

Posted on Tue Jun 29 2010

My-manny

There's a question swirling around the would-be couple at the center of the My Manny videos that may be even more pressing than, "Will they or won't they hook up?" And it's this: "What will they buy at Walmart?" The retail behemoth is sponsoring this season of the branded entertainment shorts, airing on TBS during Tyler Perry's sitcom Meet the Browns and online. My Manny launches its fourth season on Wednesday with hardworking single mom Jennifer finally agreeing to date Mike, the "manny" to her young son, even though it may get complicated. Nothing a trip to Walmart can't fix! The marketer will have extensive product placement in the videos, including a Fourth of July shopping spree to get ready for a backyard barbecue. Walmart, which also sponsored last season's two-minute vignettes, has layered on an interactive shopping video on TBS.com, where fans can get information about the products shown in the sitcom-esque clips. Next up: Jennifer primps for a night out with cosmetics, jewelry and an outfit from Walmart, while Mike cruises the store to load up on toys/bribes for the kid, while Grandpa/new babysitter makes dinner from Walmart's vast fresh food supply. … Oh, this could go on and on. And it just might.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Full speed ahead for the Chevy Traverse in new TBS microseries

Posted on Wed Jan 28 2009

My-manny

There's good news for Webisodes and the brands that love them.
  "In the Motherhood," a series of online shorts about moms coping with their chaotic lives—with help from Sprint Nextel services and Suave hair care products—has been turned into a half-hour sitcom and just got picked up for the midseason lineup on ABC. It will anchor a new comedy block on Thursdays, one of the most competitive nights of TV. The show will star Megan Mullally, Cheryl Hines and, mostly likely, a number of marketers in the Mindshare stable. The brand integration powerhouse created the Webisodes and will co-produce the series with ABC.
  So, the pump may be primed for "My Manny," a microseries launching Wednesday on TBS and TBS.com with star-car exposure for GM's new 2009 Chevy Traverse Crossover. The two-minute shorts will air during Tyler Perry's House of Payne, one of the top-rated shows among African American viewers. Payne, already a proven hitmaker with its successful Meet the Browns spin-off, could serve as a percolator for a full-length series—with Chevy, and potentially other brands, along for the ride.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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