July 16, 2007
Cadillac/Damages Latest Example of FX Single-Sponsor Model

FX continues their interesting model of single-sponsored shows, the latest of which will be for the premiere of their newest series starring Glenn Close, Damages.

Close, coming off a heralded performance in season four of The Shield as Captain Monica Rawling, will star in a show about lawyers.

This time, the sponsor will be Cadillac, who will not only be the sole sponsor of the show and provide a commercial-free season premiere, but whose cars will also be integrated through the series.

This combination of product placement/integration with single-sponsor content is yet another hybrid of a model that seems to be fairly consist for FX season and series premieres. It seems to be a model that works well enough to continue returning to it as special events for important episodes, but we have not seen it port over to whole season deals for any FX shows of yet.

So, this particular model seems to be commercially viable enough to replicate, but is obviously not viable enough to want to switch to it on a more fundamental level, at least at this point. I haven't seen any explicit data or in-depth reportage into any business numbers behind these continued FX deals, but they have tried them now with their shows Nip/Tuck and Dirt as well.

I wrote about the Dirt example back in January, linking to my previous writing on Nip/Tuck sponsorship from Sony Pictures and concluding that the Pontiac/Dirt deal:

I mused at other potential crossovers for sponsorship deals that could take place following this model. However, this Pontiac sponsorship shows that this type of advertising construct is attractive for more than just movie trailers, and in this case there were no advertising interruptions at all, other than just the brief announcement at beginning and end.

Really does take you back to the early day of television, except this example gives much more credit to the viewer that they can get the message that Pontiac is presenting the show without having to have reminders throughout, as with the Texaco men on Milton Berle. Really, it feels more like corporate donor messages on PBS than an advertising gimmick, which may help grant some goodwill for Pontiac. I don't know what the reaction is among the advertising community, if any, but I would like to find out if anyone sees further writing on the subject.