Procter & Gamble Co.'s Bounty and Wells Fargo will sponsor syndicated online programs this summer to build their brands and connect with consumers.
Retail and pharmaceutical marketers could be next for Studio One Networks, a New York-based online content developer. Studio One was negotiating with the marketers to sponsor content on the Web later this year.
Bounty is sponsoring Real Families, Real Fun, which will feature a real-life view of family activities. The program will cull input from a nationwide panel of young families, offering home projects, recipes, suggested trips and entertainment ideas. The program, which launches July 31 on several undisclosed portals and category sites and runs six months, will be hosted by Mary Heaton, former the online content sponsorship before, but it's the first time the brand has worked with Studio One.
"What's unique about Studio One's model is that it puts the content into syndication, which would allow for greater exposure across the Internet," said Paul Anfinsen, assistant brand manager for Bounty. Real Families, Real Fun will link to Bounty's revamped Web site, set to launch at the same time.
"Consumers will be able to click through on the Bounty logo and learn more about what Bounty has to offer" its target market of families with young children, Mr. Anfinsen said.
JMC&P Touch Interactive, New York, the interactive arm of Bounty's agency of record, Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, New York, is handling the site's relaunch. The new URL was undisclosed.
"[The model] hit the mark in providing richly relevant content to our target market," Mr. Anfinsen said. "It helps in building relationships with consumers rather than just transactions, developing dialogue over monologue and integrating messages across all media," he said. "P&G has had a long tradition of associating products with content sponsorship and content syndication dating back to radio days and early 1950s TV. Working with Studio One is just a modernization of the same concept."
'THEY CAN CONNECT WITH IT'
Studio One's model is similar to TV barter syndication, making it an easy concept for traditional advertisers to understand, said Forrester Research Senior Analyst Jim Nail.
All Studio One programming carries the message, "This editorial program is made possible by" and the name of the advertiser. "So [Studio One President-CEO Andrew Susman] can walk into a big traditional advertiser and he doesn't have to talk about click-throughs, etc. They can connect with it and understand it," Mr. Nail said.
Studio One is getting "six-figure to seven-figure commitments" from advertisers, Mr. Susman said. Studio One's editorial staff develops what it says is unbiased content for advertisers.
Wells Fargo's program, tentatively titled the Perfect Home, debuts in August on undisclosed sites. The program will address financial, legal and personal issues in buying or fixing a home. Wells Fargo executives were unavailable for comment.
Studio One has relationships with Web sites that run the sponsored content. Studio One's programming partners include Autoguide.com, Autobytel.com, CBS.com, Video Games Palace, Medicine Box, WholeFamily.com and FinancePlace.com. In addition, America Online and AOL properties, such as CompuServe, carry Gamers Today, a videogame-information program, and Driving Today, a car-enthusiast program, both sponsored by Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America. Your Baby Today, sponsored by Nestle U.S.A.'s Carnation brand, also runs on AOL properties.
Driving Today and Gamers Today launched in June 1999, originally sponsored by American Honda Motor Co. Mitsubishi signed an agreement June 1 to assume sponsorship of the two programs. Mitsubishi also sponsors Digital Living Today, a program about high-tech lifestyles launched in April.
Carnation's Your Baby Today, a program about caring for babies, launched in November. Carnation recently signed on as sponsor through 2001. Your Baby Today will run on CBS.com's Early Morning Show area for one year beginning in July, as well as on sites including MedicineBox and eSafety.com.
Studio One has teamed with the Advertising Research Foundation's New Model Committee, chaired by Bill Harvey, CEO of Next Century Media and American Demographics magazine, to measure online sponsorships' effectiveness.
Content sponsorship lets marketers brand themselves online, Mr. Nail said, and is an "important" part of the overall marketing mix.
Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.