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November 12, 2006

Friends with Benefit from One Tree Hill a Great Example of Transmedia Product Used for a Fundraiser

A little over a year ago, I wrote about the public service announcement for As the World Turns that was woven into the dialogue of a show. While programming was becoming more adept with making sure that viewers didn't skip ads with DVRs by working product placements into the show, this did the same with the PSA, as longtime characters Dr. Bob Hughes and his wife, Kim, had a discussion about AIDS in Africa and the need to do something about it while at the hospital, in a way that would have made it hard to skip through.

I haven't seen shows develop more of those in-dialogue PSAs in quite the same way, but One Tree Hill took it a step further earlier this year. Just as All My Children sold perfume from the show in stores and Katie Peretti's book Oakdale Confidential made it onto real bookstore shelves, a soundtrack that was organized and put together online was released in the consumer's world. And, what's better, the album--a benefit for breast cancer on the show--is an actual benefit for breast cancer as well, with a portion of the proceeds for this, the show's second soundtrack, going to breast cancer research and awareness.

The soundtrack was a joint venture for One Tree Hill and The WB Network (now merged into the CW Network), the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and sponsor Sunkist. The goal of the project, according to a press release from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, "is part of an ongoing project for awareness and early detection" to help promote breast cancer awareness to fans.

Called Friends with Benefit, the soundtrack was released back in February.

Erin McMaster with Blogcritics Magazine writes that "those who watch the show will definitely enjoy it, as the album is put together by artists who are heard, and sometimes appear as guest stars, on One Tree Hill. And unlike so many TV soundtracks out there, every track reflects the emotions and feel of One Tree Hill in such a way that it truly is a successful soundtrack."

She also points out that one of the character's clothing lines on the show, Clothes Over Bros, was really selling pink T-shirts with the Friends with Benefit logo on it as well. The promotion also included a tour of major cities.

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