Fox banks on 'Moolah'

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It's not just viewers that are hooked on reality TV. Advertisers and media sellers are embracing from the genre's popularity and ad-friendly environment.

Kellogg USA and McDonald's Corp. have inked deals to as principal sponsors of Fox Family Worldwide's six-part series "Moolah Beach" beginning Sept. 8-a sort of "Survivor" for the teen set where coed teams compete in various challenges in Hawaii for a $25,000 prize. Exposure comes in the form of network and cable TV ads, Web site visibility, magazine ads and product placement.

Shows such as CBS' "Survivor" excite executives with their potential for cross-media promotions because the product-placement opportunities are abundant and viewers tend to follow the show online between episodes.

The deal is the largest cross-media arrangement ever by the Fox Family group, which will undergo some changes this fall as Walt Disney Co. takes control of the Fox Family Channel and is expected to rename it ABC Family. Fox Family hopes to take the "Moolah Beach" program over to Disney.

"We haven't just tied all our [media] together with some sort of promotion," said Barbara Bekkedahl, exec VP sales for Fox Family Worldwide, of the sponsorship involvement. "The `Moolah Beach' content and format of the show translated to all of our different [media] so nicely and it all made sense."

Fox Family will air half-hour "Moolah Beach" episodes on the Fox Broadcasting Network on six consecutive Saturday mornings, focusing on the competitive challenges the teens will go through. Then, Fox Family Channel will air an hour-long version at noon on Saturday emphasizing the relationships and interaction between the teens; the episode will be rebroadcast on Sunday. Kellogg and McDonald's will run ads in Fox Kids Magazine linked to "Moolah Beach" coverage, and sponsorship logos on the show's Web presence including interactive games. On the show, teens will be seen eating Kellogg cereals such as Froot Loops during morning meetings. McDonald's will be touted as a benefactor with one of the prizes besides the $25,000 being a year's worth of Mighty Kids Meals.

Kellogg and McDonald's are Bcom3 Group's Starcom Worldwide, Chicago, clients. The "Moolah Beach" deals, valued together at some $7 million, came as part of the kids' upfront, which moved slowly this year as the ad market stumbled. Fox Family, however, has been making efforts to attract advertisers seeking to reach tweens and teens, who increasingly have money to spend and influence household buying decisions.

In a statement, Kellogg media director Andy Jung said the deal "will strengthen our visibility and relationship with the teen audience."'

A spokeswoman for Mc-Donald's did not provide comment by press time.

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