New Branded Entertainment Strategy Gets $15 Million Push

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Meat processor Tyson is making a $15 million push into the Madison + Vine arena with the hope that marrying its brand to entertainment properties and having its products appear in "unexpected" media venues will help
CBS sitcom characters on 'Still Standing' will be specific about the meat they eat.

it reach busy moms and change the perception that Tyson is just about chicken.

The multipronged, multimillion-dollar deal just inked with Viacom Plus and executed by Tyson's media buying and planning agency, Havas' Media Planning Group, will put a Tyson Foods product in an upcoming episode of the CBS Monday night sitcom Still Standing. Other aspects of the deal include two humorous, 15-second vignettes featuring actresses in character from the CBS soap opera As the World Turns that play on the theme of Tyson's current advertising and branding campaign, "Powered by Tyson."

Why branded entertainment

The deal, one component of Tyson's overall marketing plan that includes ads in more traditional media like print and broadcast, is in keeping with Tyson's declared strategy of doing "unexpected and new things," said Bob Corscadden, Tyson's chief marketing officer. "We're trying to grab people's attention in both expected and unexpected ways."

Tyson is more than doubling its advertising spending to $75 million in the coming year, and although Mr. Corscadden wouldn't comment on the specific amount Tyson is spending with Viacom Plus, knowledgeable executives put the amount between $15 million and $20 million.

How they did it

To pull off the deal -- planned and executed in an extraordinarily short amount of time, from April to July -- MPG executives, led by Tracey Riener, the group account director who oversees Tyson, solicited ideas from Viacom Plus. "Our real challenge was to do something different," Ms. Riener said. "When we set out, I didn't know if we'd be able to achieve product integration, but we wanted to do it wherever we could."

Once contacted by MPG, executives at Viacom Plus -- which crafts deals for Viacom's various media outlets, including CBS, UPN and Country Music Television -- brainstormed on possibilities and reached out for input from Viacom units. Those who came to the negotiating table on Viacom's side included Viacom Plus' executive vice president, Lisa McCarthy, and senior vice president, Brigg Hyland; Jo Ann Ross, executive vice president, advertising sales, CBS Television Network; Chris Simon, executive vice president, CBS network sales; Melissa Moran, account executive, prime-time sales; and Jared Zerman, vice president, daytime sales. On MPG's side were Ms. Riener, vice president and group account director for national broadcast buying, and her colleagues Jill Cape, supervisor of network buying, and Ann Marie Flaherty, network buyer.

MPG's strong relationship with CBS, whose various properties are predominant in this deal, allowed Ms. Riener and her team to negotiate directly with CBS executives, although Viacom Plus' Ms. Hyland was kept apprised of developments along the way. Some of the production costs were folded into the media buy, while other costs, such as those for the daytime vignettes, were split between Tyson and Viacom. "Everything is a negotiation," Ms. Ross said of the deal's specifics.

Measuring the deal

The efficacy will be measured by tracking studies that Tyson regularly conducts across the U.S., asking consumers about where they've seen the Tyson name. Mr. Corscadden said: "Part of the other thing that comes out of this is moving our brand from being liked to loved. If you start seeing Tyson in places that you love, that has a much more positive effect."
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