The creative types whose minds give birth to television shows and movies typically disdain the overt blending of advertising messages with their work. But Burger King found one who doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he even agreed to create the ads.
Next month, Seth MacFarlane, creator of the "Family Guy" TV series, will unveil a high-profile new project called "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," an animated variety show that will be distributed solely through Google.
The Internet giant will syndicate the new program using its AdSense advertising system to thousands of Web sites that are predetermined to be gathering spots for MacFarlane's target audience, typically young men. Instead of placing a static ad on a Web page, Google will place a "Cavalcade" video clip. YouTube will also devote a channel to the material.
Marketing messages will be incorporated into the clips largely through "preroll" ads, but Burger King took its involvement a step further. In a rare example of one of Hollywood's top creative powers working hand-in-glove with a marketer, MacFarlane created and animated Burger King ads to play ahead of "Cavalcade" clips.
In one, blue velvet curtains withdraw to reveal an ornate movie screen. The fast-food company's King mascot, a mute character with a creepy smile, bursts through the center of the screen and runs away. Following him through the ripped screen are menacing-looking Mayans who hurl poison darts in the mascot's direction. It ends with the Burger King logo.
"The customized lead-ins fit our personality," said Tiana Lang, Burger King's director of media and interactive. She added, "His fan base fits perfectly with ours."
MacFarlane, who teamed up with Google and Burger King through Media Rights Capital, a boutique production company, created three burger ads. In another one, apes on horseback pop out of the screen instead of Mayan warriors. The spots will play before 10 different "Cavalcade" episodes.
How much does it cost to have MacFarlane animate material for you? None of the parties involved would talk money, but Google has said previously that the deal was among the largest ever for AdSense, which began in 2003.
6 months ago