Zevo-3: Advertainment by Skechers, Nickelodeon, The FCC & The FTC

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Skechers Airators Promotional Materials

In October, Nicktoons will air Zevo-3, an animated show based on characters including Kewl Breeze developed by Skechers to promote their Airators line of kids’’ shoes. Kewl Breeze is a superhero that uses his breathable Skechers shoes to defeat hot “”Blacktop” ”, his arch nemesis.

Why is this kids’ product advertising out of the ordinary?

This is an example of content originally developed for and used in the promotion of consumer products being broadcast by a network as entertainment. Shows are traditionally developed and broadcast as entertainment and then licensed by consumer product manufactures. Think ““Dora, Dora, Dora the Explorer”” as the catchy jingle goes. The animated series was developed and broadcast 24/7 and kids fell in love with Dora and Boots. This attracted consumer products manufacturers to license the property and sell everything from toys and DVDs to yogurt and fruit snacks fashioned to their likeness.

Where does the FCC & FTC stand on the adverting and entertainment overlap?

The Federal Communications Commission prohibits marketers from advertising during a show with advertising-derived characters. However, in the Skechers scenario above, they are well within the guidelines to publicize the new Zevo-3 show. Skechers will insert a “”sizzle reel”” DVD in 1 million shoe boxes as well as run ads before the series airs.

In 2008, the Federal Trade Commission conducted an examination of how companies advertise products to kids. The FTC gathered information from 44 top marketers including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola for the report. They ruled in favor of industry self-regulation based on the findings, essentially limiting involvement.

Will advertising content transformed into entertainment work?

Advertising content transformed into entertainment has traditionally not been successful. Most recently, ABC developed the prime-time show Cavemen, based on the Geico ads from The Martin Agency. The show was canceled after about a month. The California Raisins developed for promotional purposes by the California Raisin Advisory Board, starred in a 1989 CBS Saturday morning cartoon series that was canceled after one season. In the late 80’s, Domino’s Pizza unsuccessfully pitched a show based on the Noid character featured in their advertising.

Will kids find Kewl Breeze and his quest against hot “”Blacktop”” compelling over time? We’ll find out starting in October.

For more information, read the following BRANDWEEK article where much of the information above was gathered: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/promotion-incentive/e3i3e9fe8a77ad6bd903028e0547bcfda9a?pn=1

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