It's No Coincidence Everyone in This Spanish Soap Drives a Ford

Webisodes for Telemundo's 'Perro Amor' to Feature Integrations With Carmaker

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a world of dual screens, Telemundo and Ford are trying to redefine branded programming.

The automaker's cars will star in Telemundo's new Spanish-language novela "Perro Amor," but they'll also be integrated into webisodes that give viewers a virtual peek into various Ford vehicles, from the multimedia system to the ambient lighting to the trunk.

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FLATTERING LIGHT: A character in 'Perro Amor' plays with Ford Fusion's ambient light using seven different colors to find his lady love's best hue.

Viewers can follow the heroine, Sofia, online and navigate a virtual version of her Ford Fusion Sport, peeking at Sofia's text messages or iPod playlist as they try out the car's multimedia system and other features.

Another character, a young man who fits the profile of an aspirational Fusion owner, will be introduced in the novela in late February then spun off into three Ford-related webisodes. He'll tweet, too. It helps that the character, Kike Sanchez, owns a small car wash called La Perla and is a car enthusiast. In the novela he might see lead character Antonio putting a bag in the trunk, for instance, and in the webisode viewers can click on the bag and see what's in it -- as well as the size of the Ford's trunk.

"It's dual screen in-programming placement," said Jacqueline Hernandez, chief operating officer of NBC Universal-owned Telemundo. "You see the content, but you also feel the features as though you're in the car."

Giving it time
The narrative arc of "Perro Amor" involves lots of driving. When playboy Antonio callously seduced the virginal heroine Sofia last week, he drove her all the way from Miami to a romantic setting in Key West in his Ford Mustang. But the Ford product integrations won't begin until Feb. 1, three weeks after the novela debuted, the idea being the program needs time to grab the audience before the overt product integrations begin.

"You let the storyline catch on and build the characters' story," said David Rodriguez, Ford's multicultural marketing manager.

The product integrations will debut as Camila, a vain but entertaining troublemaker, plots the downfall of her rival, Sofia. Her adoring husband Gonzalo, meanwhile, plays with her red Ford Fusion SEL's ambient lighting to bathe her in seven different colors in search of the most flattering hue. Andres Ordonez, VP-creative director at Ford's Hispanic agency Zubi Advertising, came up with that idea, which fits both characters' personalities.

Zubi is working closely with Telemundo on the novela, which will include 12 active integrations tied to specific vehicle features in which Zubi is involved with the script, as well as 20 passive integrations -- such as a parked car -- and a number of organic integrations that are up to Telemundo. Most scenes are shot a week before the novela airs, and Zubi gets scripts about a week before that.

Ford is also guaranteed 90 SMS alerts, to help drive viewers to watch episodes with active integrations.

"Perro Amor" will cost Ford about $1 million, including the airtime during the six-month-long novela, TV spots and web and mobile components.

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