Madison & Vine: Product placements rise at CBS

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Viacom's CBS Television Network is aggressively pursuing product placement-advertising deals, extending them to shows drawing midsize ratings such as "The Amazing Race" and "Big Brother" after blockbuster "Survivor" paved the way. For the upcoming season of "The Amazing Race 3," the network has inked major deals with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, Eastman Kodak Co. and Royal Caribbean International. The deals are estimated to be worth $3 million to $5 million each, according to industry executives.

Last year, in the show's second season, it struck just one advertising/product placement deal with cruise line Royal Caribbean.

For this season, American Express Co. purchased a major advertising package that includes an online component, but no product placement. In the show, contestants trek around the world, competing in challenges to gain the clue that leads them to the next locale in the race.

For T-Mobile, contestants will use the phones to call friends and family during their trip. Kodak will provide digital cameras so racers can document specific events to be used for their "challenges." For Royal Caribbean, winners of challenges will be told on air by the host they have won a cruise from the company.

In addition to the product placement, each sponsor gets an average of 2 1/2 spots per show for each of the 13 episodes.

"We have now stepped it up," said Christopher R. Simon, CBS's senior VP-prime time sales and exec VP-new media sales. "Money has increased with everyone, and all four are happy to be associated with the show."

For "Big Brother 3," CBS struck four deals with Subway Restaurants, Allied Domecq's Dunkin' Donuts, T-Mobile and two SABMiller Brewing Co.' alternative malt beverages-Stolichnaya Citrona, and Sauza Diablo.

The previous "Big Brother" editions didn't have any product placement advertising deals.

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