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Saturday, October 22, 2005

WSJ.com - Philips Electronics Arranges '60 Minutes' of Ads

WSJ.com - Philips Electronics Arranges '60 Minutes' of Ads
Interesting idea, likely prompted by the Target/NewYorker execution. Originality, though, should not be higher priority than effectiveness. Question is what messaging will they run. If they run the same spot w/in each ad break they will have missed serious potential.

<<<<<<<<<<<
Philips Electronics Arranges
'60 Minutes' of Ads
Dutch Firm Is Sole Sponsor
For One Week of CBS Show;
Longer Story Segments
By BRIAN STEINBERG
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 19, 2005; Page B4
Television's "60 Minutes" is getting a few more minutes -- at least this Sunday.

This week's edition of the CBS current-affairs program will run longer news segments, and fewer ads, as a result of an unusual sponsorship deal with Philips Electronics. The Amsterdam-based consumer electronics company says it is paying about $2 million to be the sole national sponsor of the program. Aside from spots promoting CBS's coming shows, and local ads sold by CBS stations, only Philips ads will appear on the show.

"There is more content, and less clutter," says Jeff Fager, executive producer of "60 Minutes."

The deal is the latest example of an advertiser aligning itself with a specific media outlet to get consumer attention. Over the summer, Target bought up all the ad pages in one issue of Cond�Nast Publications' the New Yorker magazine. Ford Motor, for a number of years, sponsored commercial-free season debuts of "24" on News Corp.'s Fox.

Advertisers used to plaster the same commercial across many TV channels and the same print ad in major publications. But as audiences have fragmented among television, the Internet and other media, advertisers are getting more choosy. When they find a media property that attracts a desirable crowd, "there is more appetite to dominate" than in the past, says Charlie Rutman, chief executive of MPG North America, a Havas media-buying firm.

"I think traditional 30-second advertising is in serious danger," says Andrea Ragnetti, Philips's chief marketing officer. He says he's looking for other media properties that reach Philips's target customer -- middle-age, affluent and well-educated -- with an eye toward developing unique ad strategies with them.

Philips's sponsorship of "60 Minutes" this Sunday will be hard to ignore. After a 90-second ad for Philips at the start of the show, the first two stories will run slightly longer than usual and free of ads. The second half of the program will carry two ad breaks, with ads for Philips, network promotions and local-station ads. Ad time will total about 6� minutes, excluding network promotions, down from the usual 12 minutes. The story segments, which typically run between 11 and 12 minutes, will average around 14 minutes in length. Philips has no say over the program's editorial content, according to the parties involved.

CBS won't comment on the pricing of the deal but says it is getting at least as much revenue as it would have for a normal episode of the show. CBS said it has taken care of other advertisers who may have wanted to be on the show.

An on-screen graphic will tell viewers about the Philips sponsorship, giving them a chance to offer feedback about the broadcast through the CBS News Web site, says Victor Ruvolo, senior vice president and group client director for Carat USA, the Aegis Group media-buying firm that helped negotiate the deal.

Mr. Fager said he'd do this kind of deal "every week if I could." In reality, however, these sponsorships are complicated. Making a company a sole sponsor sometimes requires broadcast networks to ask the TV stations that carry its signal to give up some of the ad time they sell. In this case, local stations got to sell their usual allotment. Use of the technique "will be sporadic," says Bill Cella, chairman and chief executive of Interpublic Group's Magna Global Worldwide.

Philips's Mr. Ragnetti is hunting for more opportunities for unusual ad plays. One outlet that has caught his eye is Time Warner's Real Simple, a home-oriented lifestyle magazine, whose readership fits Philips's target. "We don't have any plans so far, but if there was a chance to do something specific together, I would be very happy," he says. Real Simple would "absolutely entertain the idea of a single-sponsor issue," provided the concept matches the mission of the magazine, says Robin Domeniconi, Real Simple's president and publisher.

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