In Finnish sitcom “Buy This!,” real companies work with the show’s fictional ad agency.
An unusual collaboration is brewing between TBWA Helsinki and FremantleMedia, the company that produces “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.” The two companies have combined forces to create a sitcom called “Buy This!,” with TBWA Helsinki creating ad campaigns and Fremantle writing/producing the 30-minute episodes.
What gives this sitcom a swanky twist is that “Buy This!” features real brands – including Nissan – hiring the show’s fictional agency to create ads. (Product placement on TV has come so far since the good old days of a box of Cheerios sitting conspicuously on the edge of the counter!) So far, “Buy This!” appears to be a hit, as it is performing well in the all-important Sunday primetime slot on Finland’s biggest network.
It’s hard to see how this collaboration could be anything less than a win for all players. The brands get extensive exposure to the audience of a popular sitcom. TBWA Helsinki gets to flex their creative muscles for brands with which they (largely) are not currently associated. Fremantle, for their part, does what they usually do – reap the rewards of a successful television program.
The project is especially cool for each show’s featured brands. The reason I say this comes from a quote from the vice president of TBWA Helsinki’s innovation unit, Juha-Matti Raunio. Raunio says:
“The format allows you to let loose, and gives you the courage to experiment more, and create a new kind of campaign. We’ve tested new ideas like looking at what would happen if you sell a brand to women instead of men.”
The benefit to the brand here is enormous. The ability to test-market new audiences with little to no risk is a no-brainer, and explains why the first season features 10 of the top 15 advertisers in Finland. As long as the show continues to garner ratings, “Buy This!” will provide heightened visibility for TBWA Helsinki and Fremantle, not to mention the brands featured on each episode.
Good job guys!
Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts