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Brief Published: 23 Nov 2015

Pepsi and Fox’s Integrated Advertising

Pepsi's storyline on Empire

Global drinks giant Pepsi has closed a product integration deal that gives the soft drink brand an entire story arc on US broadcaster Fox's show Empire.

Empire is a drama set in the music and entertainment industries. Over three episodes, viewers follow the young singer Jamal Lyon through his participation in a Pepsi endorsement deal. At the culmination of the story in December 2's episode, Jamal will introduce his Pepsi spot at a press conference. At that moment, Fox will go on an ad break and viewers will see the fictional artist representing Pepsi in a real commercial. The ad will run in slots around Empire for the rest of the season.

Empire has 22.5 million viewers per week, 9 million of whom via catch-up and on-demand video, where they habitually edit out traditional commercial blocks. Advertisers trying to maintain a connection to that audience need to tie their brands to content in ways that go beyond the 30-second spot. "I think it is incumbent upon advertisers and networks to be open to find new ways for brands to see the value to being part of a network show," Gary Newman, co-chief executive of the Fox TV Group, told The Wall Street Journal.

The Nielsen Brand Effect Study 2015 suggests product placement is an effective way of generating that value, particularly when targeting millennials. The study finds that brands with product placements see a 16% lift in brand recall among the 18-34 demographic. In the South Korean TV drama market, product placements regularly create cultish demand and quick sell-out products for brands, as we addressed in South Korea's Pop-Cultural Moment.

For more on developments in advertising, see our coverage from Advertising Week New York 2015.