P&G, Red Bull sign up for UK online series

12 August 2009

LONDON: MySpace, the social networking website, is launching a new online drama series in the UK, which will include product placement for brands such as Red Bull, the energy drink, and Tampax, the feminine hygiene brand owned by Procter & Gamble.

Bebo, another popular social media site, pioneered this approach with the series Kate Modern, which has received some 25 million views worldwide, and similarly featured brand integration from a number of major advertisers.

MySpace's new show, entitled Freak, will have its own dedicated section on the News Corp-owned web property, and was produced by FMX, the new media arm of Freemantle Media.

The series is made up of 13 episodes, and will offer viewers the opportunity to shape the overall plot and storyline via a range of interactive tools.

Freemantle said it will provide for "real-time-like following of the story, with each central character posting snippets of their life" on videos, blogs and instant messages between programmes.

The audience will also be able to "interact with the characters by giving fashion, music and love advice and ultimately influence their decisions – bringing fans closer to the central characters than ever before."

Alongside Red Bull and Tampax, a further four products have signed up to be featured in the show thus far.

MySpace has also created what it calls the Product Integration Integer in order to assess the effectiveness of this paid-for placement.

As well as generic metrics such as viewer numbers, this system, which was launched earlier this year, assesses factors such as "visibility", "brand fit", "scenario" and "character match".

Anthony Lukom, managing director of MySpace UK, said that the programme would put "our users in the driving seat more than ever before."

"The way they can get involved with every element of the series, both in creation and with the storyline, is incredibly powerful and the fact that both Red Bull and Procter & Gamble were so keen to be involved is testament to the strength of the proposition."

Data sourced from Brand Republic/Freemantle; additional content by WARC staff