The stunt might not sell cars, but it sure created buzz for a car nobody had ever heard of before. Pontiac's bold marketing move to give away 276 of its new G6 sedans to the audience attending the season premiere of "Oprah" cost the General Motors division $8 million but the company received roughly $20 million in unpaid media coverage and PR.
2. Brands Play `Apprentice'
After "The Apprentice" became a ratings bonanza for NBC, advertisers, including Hasbro, Toys `R' Us, Pepsi-Cola Co., Procter & Gamble, QVC and Levi Strauss Co. flocked to the second season. They spent $1 million to be integrated into the show's. Season three will see Sony, Visa International and Verizon Wireless coughing up an even higher $2.5 million fee.
3. Ringside for `Contender'
The punches don't start flying until February, but Mark Burnett and DreamWorks lined up sponsors that include Toyota, Home Depot, Foot Locker, Everlast, Gatorade and Sierra Mist for the boxing reality show "The Contender." Producers won't just pocket rich integration fees from brands. A rare deal will cost NBC $2 million an episode in license fees and ad inventory.
4. Riesenberg Goes Full Circle
Eager to start producing its own TV shows for clients, Omnicom formed Full Circle Entertainment in January and recruited Magna Global Entertainment's Robert Riesenberg from rival Interpublic to run the venture. Tracy Dorsey, also from Magna Global Entertainment, quickly followed to serve as managing director of creative affairs.
5. AN `Incredible' Promotion
Disney and Pixar's "The Incredibles" attracted an estimated $150 million in marketing from promotional partners that included SBC Communications, P&G, McDonald's Corp., Kellogg Co., Safeway, Hollywood Video, Toys `R' Us and numerous licensing companies, easily making the toon the most brand-hyped film in 2004. Partners spent an estimated $60 million in TV ads alone.
6. Sears' `Extreme Makeover'
Pre-merger Sears, Roebuck & Co. got to show off its softer side by becoming the exclusive home-improvement advertiser for ABC's tear-jerking reality show. The retailer's Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances receive prominent placement. Season two has taken off across all demos, with an episode in November attracting 20 million viewers.
7. `The Days' Finds An Audience
Advertisers made their first serious attempt to produce scripted programming with ABC's summer entry "The Days," produced by MindShare and Tollin/Robbins Productions. MindShare clients Sears and Unilever financed the show's production costs, integrated brands such as Lipton, Dove and Skippy into the series, and took a percentage of ownership and ad time.
8. Snoop Becomes Best Friend
After cleaning up his image, the already ubiquitous Snoop Dogg suddenly became every mass marketer's best friend. T-Mobile USA, Pony, MasterCard, Electronic Arts and XM Satellite Radio were among some of the many advertisers that lined up to court the rapper and sometimes-actor to promote their products.
9. Spielberg Fills up `Terminal'
When Steven Spielberg built a terminal for DreamWorks' "The Terminal," he needed something to fill it with. In addition to United Airlines, over 35 companies ended up spending millions to build real stores for Borders Books, Discovery Store, Brookstone, Paul Mitchell, as well as a working food court with Burger King, Starbucks, Baskin-Robbins and Baja Fresh.
10. Audi Drives `I, Robot'
Changing the relationship between automakers and filmmakers, Audi outbid rivals to design and build a sleek concept car for 20th Century Fox's "I, Robot." In addition to spending north of $1 million to create the RSQ Sports Coupe, Audi spent an estimated $10 million in extra media to promote the film, another first for the company.