- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Top products placed

Tyson Foods’ integration on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” this season and Sue Bee Honey and Soft Scrub placements on NBC’s “The Apprentice: Los Angeles” last season were the most effective product integrations on television in 2007 based on their positive impact on brand opinion, according to IAG Research.

With a brand-opinion index of 394, the Tyson placement — in which the company provided a year’s supply of meat to a family and donated 20,000 pounds of meat to their community — improved viewer opinion of the brand nearly four times more than the average product placement, which scores 100, notes the Hollywood Reporter.

When “Apprentice” contestants were challenged to harvest, bottle and sell Sue Bee Honey in a supermarket in February, the integration improved viewer opinion of the brand with a score of 368. When contestants produced Webisodes to advertise Soft Scrub a month later, the integration netted a score of 332 on IAG’s brand-opinion index.

Combined, NBC Universal’s NBC and Bravo networks accounted for eight of the top 10 most effective integrations in 2007. While integrations generally are believed to be more effective when at least one commercial runs during the shows in which the placements appear, only six of the top 10 integrations aired together with spots.

In 2006, the top integrations on IAG’s brand-opinion index scored 330, 325 and 304, suggesting that networks, production companies and advertisers might be improving their use of brand integrations as they gain experience.

In another measurement of product placement impact, IAG ranked the top integrations — but only those airing adjacent to commercials — that generated the highest brand recall in 2007. The top three were Bluefly.com in Bravo’s “Project Runway,” with a score of 195 on IAG’s brand-recall index; Jeep in the CW’s “Gilmore Girls” with 194; and Ford in CBS’ “Survivor: Fiji” with 183. The average product placement score on the brand-recall index, which measures the percentage of TV viewers who can recall within 24 hours the product or brand they saw integrated within the course of normal TV viewing, also is 100.

Of the six integrations that aired adjacent to commercials on the top 10 list of placements that improved brand opinion, only Soft Scrub’s “Apprentice” made it on to IAG’s top 10 brand recall list as well, coming in sixth with a score of 180.

On tap tonight

Law & Order, TV’s longest-running crime series, begins its 18th season with a two-hour premiere tonight at 9 on NBC.

Since Fred Thompson left the show to focus on his presidential campaign, Sam Waterston’s character, Jack McCoy, has been promoted to district attorney. Replacing him as chief assistant D.A. is Michael Cutter, played by British actor Linus Roache, who has a lot of feature film experience: He starred in the Henry James adaptation “The Wings of the Dove” and more recently portrayed Thomas Wayne in “Batman Begins.”

PBS, seen locally on WMPT-22 and WETA-26, has two new specials tonight. Pioneers of Television, a four-part documentary series, premieres at 8. Tonight’s episode focuses on sitcoms, with hours on late-night, variety and game shows to follow each week. Almost 100 stars from TV’s formative years, including Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Regis Philbin, Dick Cavett, Ed McMahon, Merv Griffin, Mary Tyler Moore and Phyllis Diller, tell their stories over the course of the series. New interviews were conducted in high-definition, which should prove a great contrast to the archival footage.

Following that at 9 is Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency. It was just announced last week that the seventh president will be one of the four chief executives to appear on the new set of dollar coins. Narrated by “The West Wing” actor Martin Sheen, this two-hour documentary examines one of our most controversial presidents. Jackson founded the Democratic party but was viewed by his enemies as an American Napoleon, PBS notes, resulting in a story with “startling relevance to the modern presidency.”

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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