If James Corden's "The Late Late Show" guests look happier than normal, it might be because they were swigging a few Heinekens backstage. The imported brew is being served in the green room as part of a new sponsorship deal with the CBS program that includes plenty of aggressive on-air promotions.
The pact quietly began in March when Heineken signage began appearing on Mr. Corden's on-set bar. (Bud Light was the program's initial beer sponsor when Mr. Corden took took the reins of the "Late Late Show" in March 2015.) Heineken's deal ramped up last night with on on-air bit featuring a parody of a recent Heineken ad starring Benicio Del Toro. Here is that segment, compared with the actual ad.
Heineken declined to release terms of the deal, including how much it paid. The beer marketer stated that the pact includes product placement, on-air and digital integrations, on-set signage and "on-air call-outs." The pact is part of a larger media buy, a Heineken USA spokesman confirmed. The brand ran two 15-second spots last night, for instance, he said. Mediavest Spark handles Heineken USA's media.
"'The Late Late Show' is one of the most buzzed about in late night television, and we're excited to be right in the middle of the action with our Heineken bar," said Pattie Falch, director-sponsorships and events at Heineken USA.
Product placements are of course nothing new for late show programming. But networks must tread lightly with alcohol brands in order to comply with the beer industry's self-regulated marketing code.
For instance, anything that hints at drunkenness is strictly prohibited, and everyone shown with the product must be of legal drinking age. The code also prohibits beer marketing that suggests that "individuals cannot obtain social, professional, educational, athletic, or financial success or status without beer consumption." So much for liquid courage.
And if Corden was considering any holiday-themed bits with Heineken later this year, he'll have to do so without jolly old St. Nick. Because "beer advertising and marketing materials should not depict Santa Claus," according to the code.