P&G Hints At Return To Roots

10 movie deals in the works

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% The company that invented the soap opera 70 years ago is taking a new look at branded entertainment, with a slew of deals in the works.

Procter & Gamble Co. has about 10 potential movie deals in various stages of development, according to one executive close to the company. Among them is a multibrand tie-in for P&G's home-care brands with Universal Pictures' Nov. 21 release of the live-action version of "The Cat in the Hat," according to executives close to P&G. The cleaning machine that appears towards the end of the classic Dr. Seuss book, a Swiffer precursor of sorts, makes for an effective tie-in.

This winter, P&G did a promotional link with the DVD release of "Maid In Manhattan," digitally placing a Swiffer duster in the hands of Jennifer Lopez on the cover. But P&G missed out on one big, if unplanned, promotional windfall, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Instead, it was SC Johnson's Windex that was prominently featured in the 2002 runaway hit.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Ten "sounds high" for P&G movie deals in the works, said a spokeswoman. But she said P&G, led by its North American media group, has stepped up exploration of branded-entertainment deals, and some brand groups may be exploring tie-ins separately.

P&G has been spreading work around Hollywood, too. It recently expanded ties with Creative Artists Agency, which was already securing partners for P&G's Tremor online teen-marketing program. Now, CAA also is seeking entertainment partners for P&G brands and brand partners for P&G Productions, producer of daytime soaps, the spokeswoman said.

Grey Global Group's Alliance, New York, also is working on deals for several P&G brands, including an upcoming music CD/cause-marketing program for Cover Girl. Alliance also handles the continuing Pantene Pro-Voice talent search.

Earlier this year, Publicis Groupe's Starcom Mediavest Group developed a tie-in for Herbal Essences with "American Idol." Though winner Ruben Studdard didn't have much hair and wasn't keen on a suggestion that he dye what he has, senior brand manager Heidi Standhart still considered the association a success.

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