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Return of the Soap Opera... minus the soap!

C'mon P&G, you started the whole soap opera thing... you're missing the boat on this one.

There are a number of regressive developments which harken back to a charming time in television history... when a single sponsor underwrote an entire show. (Texaco Star Theatre anyone?)

Well, the model appears to be making a comeback. Here a few examples that have popped up recently:

1. Budweiser sponsors JibJab
A little birdy told me that the King of Beers is actually sponsoring the entirety of JibJab's output, though the visible sponsorship is tied to the "official download area of Real Men of Genius" tv spots. The humor of these spots is particularly in line with JibJab humor, so that works.

What's boggles the mind is how political JibJab is... does Uncle Bud ever call up and ask the boys to kindly remove an offensive cartoon, or is their overall sponsorship hidden and made to appear only alive in the official BUD area. Hmmm. If anyone has any insight on this... drop us a line.

2. Snapple buys entire ad inventory for 6 weeks at a couple of New England Radio Stations.
Dubbed "Brandcasting" Snapple's move allows them complete control over the message and presumably the content. Hey if you have the money and want to spend it this way, why not. I'm just not sure as a content provider, having a single sugar daddy is such a great thing... at least from an artistic integrity point of view... but then look at TV these days... integrity! HAH!

3. Bill Mahr's new AMAZON TV SHOW!!! (No really!)
This is the purest form of the form. Much like brandcasting pioneer BMW Films of ancient (circa 2000 A.D.) Web Days (BTW, you can no-longer download the films... WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??? Don't they realize there are sites like THIS out there?)

Will the Maher/Bezos power-duo find a balance between infommercial, ABC-style "you're fired" censorship and HBO's cuss-all-you-want, screw-the-networks attitude? My instinct is that it will pretend to be the latter, but play more like a "set it and forget it" half hour. Damn that chicken is juicy!

Will artists like Maher keep taking these deals if it DOESN'T allow them to speak their mind? Probably... they'll justify it as "shooting a commercial." It doesn't have to be good, or art... But then if it sucks, who's going to watch? We understand stars need to pay the bills, but these "shows" have a real opportunity to ruin a... REAL OPPORTUNITY!

Keep watching this space... first products in your movies, now movies in your products. WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END?????


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