Marketers Waving Money Chase Fab Five

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Along with negotiating a new season fee of as much as $400,000 each, the five stars of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are also being
Photo: AP
'Queer Eye's' Fab Five -- Jai Rodriguez, Carson Kressley, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia and Ted Allen -- clown with actreess Patricia Heaton at the Emmy Awards last week.
chased by marketers eager to connect their products to the Fab Five's newfound cult status.

The gay fashionistas, who were each getting only $3,000 per episode during the series' first season, are now reportedly close to signing a deal with the Bravo cable network, where the show airs, and its owner, General Electric Corp.'s NBC, for up to $10,000 a show each for a new season of 40 shows, according to Advertising Age sibling Television Week.

Revlon's Almay
Meanwhile, the show, already noted as a textbook study in product placement, has attracted attention from marketers of every category. Leading off is Revlon's Almay brand, which is considering using the five men to help launch a line, according to executives familiar with the talks. Almay representatives are known to have met with talent agents at William Morris, which works on behalf of two of the five.

Revlon's agency of record, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, had no comment.

Product placements
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy features five gay lifestyle experts who make over a hapless straight man. The straight man is usually challenged in every social way from hairstyle to home decor. The show has been praised for its use of appropriate product placement. One of the most regular plugs has been for Benjamin Moore & Co. paint, though liquor brand DiSaronno Amaretto, which also bought time during the show, has also been featured.

Queer Eye holds the record as Bravo's highest-rated series ever -- it improved summer ratings by 123% for the network. NBC has also aired episodes of the show. Bravo did not return calls by press time. A 30-second spot airing during Queer Eye costs about $11,000, according to media buying executives.

Other marketers
Revlon is far from alone in its desire to have Fab Five endorsements for a product line outside of the show itself. Advertising Age sibling Crain's Chicago Business reported earlier this week that cooking expert Ted Allen was in talks with General Mills. Housewares stores such as Crate & Barrel and Pier One have also sent out feelers to interior designer Thom Filicia. A spokeswoman for Pier One said only that the firm was looking at a number of new creative directions. Pier One's agency, Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., declined to comment.

Both Mr. Filicia and Mr. Allen are managed by Michael Flutie of Flutie Entertainment. Mr. Flutie said he was astounded at the lack of initial interest from marketers when he started making calls on his clients' behalf. Now it's a different story.

Synergistic relationships
Mr. Flutie declined to discuss specifics, but said: "We are having many conversations with blue-chip companies in the cosmetics, fashion, fragrance and the food business. Part of our strategy is to align the talent with synergistic relationships that support the talent and NBC/Bravo."

The exact bounds of the potential relationships between Queer Eye stars and such marketers are expected to be outlined as part of the contract renewal negotiations that are still under way.

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