For Pizza Hut, Jesse James Is a Sponsored Man
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Marketers have long been willing to go to great lengths with TV producers for the sake of product placement, but what about the talent? Daredevil and former "Monster Garage" star Jesse James is going the extra mile for marketers in his first TV series in three years, "Jesse James Is a Dead Man," which will make its debut on Spike on May 31.
Mr. James jumped at the challenge, said Sharon Levy, Spike's senior VP-original series. "He actually said, 'I could get it there while it's still piping hot,' and he did. He even fabricated one of his vehicles to make sure he could still deliver a hot pizza."
Mr. James also wore a Pizza Hut uniform and plastered the company's logo all over his vehicle so it would be visible to the helicopter frantically filming his 120-mph race across the rough desert terrain. It may seem like a desperate bid for ad bucks, but Pizza Hut spokesman Chris Fuller said the integration came down to one word: real.
"Our products are real. We use all natural ingredients in our pizzas that are free from nitrates and all those long words you don't want in your pizzas," he said. "We had a real guy and it was a real challenge from these guys who wanted a pizza delivered to their doorstep."
"The guy has a great business mind, and he wants to make the show relevant and go the extra yard for an advertiser. He knows if he does a great job onscreen, that increases the value of the show to the channel," he said. "It definitely helps that he knows from past shows what sponsors can mean to a show in terms of the economics of it."
Pizza Hut will also return as one of the title sponsors of Spike's Guys Choice awards, which will air June 21.