TruTV Strikes Year-Round Ad Deals for 'Impractical Jokers'

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'Impractical Jokers.'
'Impractical Jokers.' Credit: Jeremy Freeman/truTV
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MetroPCS, Mountain Dew and an undisclosed resort brand have signed a year-long partnership with the TruTV comedic reality series "Impractical Jokers," according to the network, which is part of Time Warner's Turner division.

The show stars four life-long friends who dare one another to do crazy stunts with strangers while hidden cameras record the results.

The partnerships kick off tonight, when MetroPCS sponsors "Impractical Jokers Live: Nitro Circus Spectacular," in which the Jokers will complete a four-part obstacle course and the loser accepts a high-stakes punishment. The special will be broadcast live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., at 8 p.m. ET.

The ad deals will extend beyond the show's fifth season, which ends with "Nitro Circus Spectacular," with further live events and on-the-ground experiences in the coming year. Season 5 premiered last month.

TruTV pitched marketers "the way we sell sports properties," engaging fans beyond the traditional season, said Joe Hogan, exec VP-portfolio sales and client partnerships at Turner Ad Sales.

While the brands will run commercials during the show's ad breaks and be integrated into episodes, TruTV will also produce branded content that will live across traditional, digital and social platforms. Each marketer will also "own" one of the show's big live events.

The deals were struck during this year's upfront negotiations.

Other live events include a 2017 tour, sponsored by the resort marketer, and a block party at the San Diego Comic-Con next July, sponsored by Mountain Dew.

"Impractical Jokers" has seen success with its live events. Its first one in September 2015, also its 100th episode, was seen by 1.7 million viewers on the night it aired and 3.7 million viewers over three days of delayed viewing.

News of the deals comes a month into TruTV's initiative to reduce its ad load by nearly half in new original programming in primetime, going from about 19 minutes of commercials and network promos to about 10 minutes an hour.

About 80% of TruTV's ad customers in the upfront bought into originals with reduced commercial time, Mr. Hogan said.

Turner has also been working to clean up commercial clutter on some of its other networks. TNT began reducing its commercials by 50% this summer, starting with its new drama "Animal Kingdom."

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