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SyFy, Hershey Strike Integration Deals

Candy Marketer to Sponsor '31 Days of Halloween'; 'Warehouse 13' Character to Chew Twizzlers

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47% of Syfy's viewers in the first three quarters of 2009 were female, a key selling point to Hershey.
47% of Syfy's viewers in the first three quarters of 2009 were female, a key selling point to Hershey.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- This year's protracted, budget-challenged upfront may have made it harder for idea-driven branded-entertainment deals to get done, but one deal that made it to the top of the heap is hitting the airwaves this week. The Hershey Co.will be featured as a monthlong sponsor of Syfy's "31 Days of Halloween" programming stunt in October.

The sponsorship begins tomorrow and features the candy company's Hershey's milk chocolate bar, Twizzlers, Reese's peanut butter cup and Kit Kat brands in sponsored interstitials and commercial vignettes. It also also coincides with an integration deal Hershey also inked during the upfront to feature Twizzlers in the second season of Syfy's top-rated new series, "Warehouse 13," returning in summer 2010.

The in-development integration will likely feature "Warehouse" co-star Joanne Kelly frequently enjoying the red licorice throughout the show as a form of stress relief.

Creighton Talbott, group director-national TV investment at OMD, Hershey's media buying agency, said Hershey was in a stronger position than most clients going into the upfront, given its steady budgets and sales spikes in the first half of 2009.

"Certain advertisers, for budgetary issues, couldn't do these kinds of deals in time, but Hershey has been very stable over the last couple years," he said. "The people that do their homework and have their brand briefs together can overcome some of that uncertainty to a degree."

Stronger position
This Syfy tie-in follows on the heels of one deal for Subaru's Impreza WRX and Unilever's Degree for multiepisode story arcs in its hit summer series "Eureka". Chris Czarkowski, Syfy's VP-ad sales, said shows like "Warehouse," "Destination Truth" and "Ghost Hunters," coupled with the network's July 7 rebrand from Sci-Fi to Syfy and its highest-rated third-quarter in its history, have helped change perceptions among the ad community.

"Our brand evolution, the change of the logo, our tagline 'Imagine Greater' and the broadening of our programming have really opened up the scope of what our audiences are. The perception that the network is exclusively male is an outdated one," he said.

In fact, 47% of Syfy's viewers in the first three quarters of 2009 were female, up from 44% in 2008, which made for a key selling point to Hershey.

"Halloween is a huge season for us, so this was a perfect sponsorship opportunity and a way for our brands to cut through the clutter," Mr. Talbott said. "Although the target audience is generally adults 18 to 49, many of our brands have a female skew to them, so this sits very well with what the directive of the brands are."

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