The Biz: L'Oreal exposed on 'Full Frontal'

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Product placement is so ubiquitous that the term is now part of marketers' everyday vocabulary, and has infiltrated almost every form of entertainment-TV programs, movies, you name it. So it's not too surprising to see entertainment-news programming welcoming sponsors with open arms.

"Full Frontal Fashion," a fashion "news" show that launched last week on the WE Network, signed L'Oreal to become an integrated sponsor of a segment of its programming that will feature the cosmetics company's key stylist and spokesperson, a man known as Oribe.

"They are a rather large sponsor. They own quite a lot of inventory in the show. And we are doing a segment with their stylists.," says Liz Koman, senior VP-ad sales for Rainbow Media's WE Network and AMC.

persistence pays

"Full Frontal" was acquired by WE last fall from local cable network MetroTV and it has just begun to air nationally.

"We have a lot of cosmetic business at WE, so we had a few marketers vying for a deal on `Full Frontal.' L'Oreal was very persistent. This was something that really interested them," Koman says.

L'Oreal did not respond to calls for comment.

"When he does a hair or makeup tip, he will use their products," Koman says. "It's seamless. This is something we would do naturally anyway. It makes sense, instead of using a competitor's product, we're using theirs." The show also signed a new host, Ali Landry, the former Miss USA who became known as the "Dorito's Girl" after starring in several provocative spots for the snack maker by Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide.

"This is every girl's dream," Landry says. "This show is creating access to the whole fashion world. We go inside it, showing how hectic it all is, and you see those crazy outfits that I would never wear, as well as all the practical fashions."

Landry is the show's anchor, introducing reports that are filed by glamorous correspondents such as Judy Licht, wife of ad legend Jerry Della Femina; Andre Leon Talley, editor at large for Conde Nast's Vogue; Hal Rubenstein, fashion-features editor for Time Inc.'s InStyle; Suze Yalof Schwartz, executive fashion director at Conde Nast's Glamour; and celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan. Scott Omelianuk, a former editor at Conde Nast Publications' GQ and Hearst Magazines' Esquire, will host the segment known as The Men's Department.

WE network is not the first to mix product placement with news-type programming. Fox Sports Net has launched branded-marketing deals for the "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and "54321," its new extreme-sports show. Fox Sports has even coined a new name for it: immersion.

"`The Best Damn Sports Show' is an entertainment show more than news," says Tom Chiappetta, the network's director of media relations. "We have more leeway than [ESPN's] Sports Center. We deliver the news in an entertaining way. If you are in a straight-news format it is more difficult." "The Best Damn Sports" show has done immersion deals with Ford Motor Co. and Labatt USA, while "54321" has snapped up Snapple as an immersion brand.

`judicious'

"We have to be more careful with `54321,"' Chiappetta says. "It's more of a news show so we are more judicious about how we do it in that show."

Meanwhile, at the WE network, another "Full Frontal" advertiser, Designer Shoe Warehouse, or DSW, will sponsor a segment called "Where'd You Get That?"

"We will go out and do a report on shoes and we'll be shooting at one of their stores, which makes sense because that's what they do, they offer shoes for less," Koman says.

The show has room for other sponsors. "But it has to be something that is natural to the show, that is seamless, that makes sense for the show creatively." For instance, Snap-On Tools wouldn't fit in, Koman says, "unless we showed someone fixing a lift on someone's heel."

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