UPN Goes For Product Placement Deal, Not Bugs

By Caillan
August 29, 2001 - 1:59 PM

A UPN source has denied that the network was considering placing ad 'bugs' during its prime-time programming, as the network prefers to give its advertisers other product placement opportunities.

In response to reports that UPN had included small transparent ad logos, known as 'bugs,' in its incentive package for advertisers (story), a source told TV Insite that it "will never happen, it was an erroneous story."

The advertising agency Omnicom Group will reportedly receive incentives for its clients after tentatively agreeing to buy $30 million of television time, according to Reuters. These 'incentives' could include anything from show sponsorships and sweepstakes to product placements.

"[Omincom] paid extra for the air time in exchange for value added promotions. They paid extra in order to get this," said a UPN source. Omnicom's clients include McDonald's, Cingular Wireless, Gillette, Sony's PlayStation, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Vivendi Universal's Universal Pictures.

The Hughleys, part of UPN's Monday-night urban comedy line-up, is just one of the shows for which product placements are currently being negotiated. Both State Farm and McDonald's are reportedly in talks for their organisations to be featured in episodes of the series. It is not currently known if or how this deal may affect Enterprise.

Meanwhile, the new home of Star Trek reruns, TNN, is set to feature the franchise in a cross-promotional stunt, according to TV Insite. During the network's week-long TNG marathon, Monday night's WWF Raw Is War will feature some sort of Star Trek tie-in, though no other details are currently known. This comes only a day after the news that an episode of Roswell will include a tie-in with the latest Trek series, Enterprise (story).

Further details on the UPN deal can be found in this TV Insite report and this Reuters article. Thanks to Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga for this!

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