Pepsi is sponsoring a two-hour contest special on the WB network in the fall where the top prize is a BILLION DOLLARS:
- The as-yet unnamed two-hour special promises to give contestants a shot at becoming a billionaire and is being produced by the same outfit behind the ABC hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. With PepsiCo as the sole sponsor, the show is one of advertising’s boldest attempts to counteract the growing problems with 30-second spots. While the deal for the show is not yet final, executives at the WB network, a unit of AOL Time Warner, say they expect to see the program on their fall schedule.
The show further blurs the line between advertising and entertainment in an age of celebrity pitchmen and scripted product placement. While details are still sketchy, the show looks to be a very extended and extremely sensational commercial. Contestants must buy specially marked sodas to qualify, and PepsiCo products likely will be incorporated into the program, which may or may not have commercials. Expect the script to also include daredevil competitions à la NBC’s Fear Factor. PepsiCo declined to comment, and the show’s Los Angeles-based producer, Diplomatic Production, did not return calls for comment. [Forbes]
The impetus behind this is the capability of PVR’s like TiVO skip over commercials – in this case the show IS a commercial.