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’30 Rock’ Satire of Kraft Sponsorship Is Sponsored by…..Kraft

The episode of the sitcom “30 Rock” that NBC broadcast live on Thursday night offered a fanciful tribute to live TV on the Peacock network. Not left out of that wacky history lesson were the sponsors, an integral part of television when it was live.

The episode began with an imaginary, black-and-white NBC sitcom called “The Lovebirds,” modeled on the legendary CBS sitcom “The Honeymooners.” The writers of “30 Rock” made “The Lovebirds” part of what an announcer called “The Kraft Product Placement Comedy Hour, sponsored by Kraft Singles. It’s the cheese that won World War II.”

The bit was appropriate because Kraft was a major sponsor during the early days of NBC TV, producing shows like “Kraft Music Hall” and “Kraft Television Theater.” Marketers and their agencies owned the shows back then, so the sponsors’ names appeared in the title.

But the bit also worked because it was part of a current branded integration — the 21st-century term for a deal that extends beyond product placement and incorporates a brand like Kraft into the plot of a show.

The deal was struck with NBCUniversal by the LiquidThread and Starcom MediaVest Group divisions of the Publicis Groupe, acting on behalf of Kraft Foods. (LiquidThread is the unit of Starcom MediaVest devoted to branded content.)

Kraft already had a 30-second commercial scheduled for the episode of “30 Rock,” said Angela Wiggins, a spokeswoman for Kraft Foods. After NBC decided to broadcast the episode live, Kraft was offered “the opportunity for a branded integration,” she added.

As part of the deal, there was also an actual commercial for Kraft Singles, part of a new campaign for various Kraft cheese products that carries the theme “Make something amazing.”

“With the long-standing history of Kraft and branded entertainment, this was an intriguing opportunity for us to pay homage to the brand’s history in a new and engaging way,” said Brent Poer, executive vice president and executive creative director at LiquidThread North America.

The episode also included a wink at sponsorships in the days of live TV that was not part of a branded integration.

At one point in the show, the actor Chris Parnell, reprising the character of a shady doctor that he plays from time to time on “30 Rock,” urged pregnant women to smoke an imaginary cigarette brand called Chattertons. (The name was sort of a cross between a real brand, Chesterfield, and the actress Ruth Chatterton.)

Mr. Parnell returned later to deliver a corrective commercial, urging women who smoked Chattertons while pregnant to seek compensation if they suffered from “Chatterton syndrome.”

In addition to spoofing “The Honeymooners,” the live episode of “30 Rock” also parodied another CBS sitcom, “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” as well as two series that actually appeared on NBC, “Laugh-In” and “The Dean Martin Show.”

via ’30 Rock’ Satire of Kraft Sponsorship Is Sponsored by Kraft – NYTimes.com.


About Bob Innes

Who am I and what I do best! I am a skilled Sales and Marketing team player known for performing behind the scenes miracles that increase base distribution, improve customer relationship management, exceed annual sales volume,and profitability for Consumer Packaged Goods companies. And I've been doing it for over 15 years. My successful contributions include such clients as Kraft Foods, Mars, Bumble Bee Foods, Unilever, Johnson and Johnson and SC Johnson, and JM Smuckers.


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