When producing for PBS we can not include ANY product placement, company logos or text on a CG title (an interview) on the screen; basically nothing that would suggest an "infomercial" or a work for hire.
How does that work for commercial broadcast. I'm working on a project that will include sporting events wherein the people and the object (lets say it's nascar but it's not so the object being a car) will have logos all over them.
Can you show the logos of the show sponsors within the show? Can you identify, via CG title, a representative of the sponsoring company with their company name and/or logo? What about the logos of companies that are not sponsors? Will I have to blur them?
That is a good question for the clearance person where your producing the show, there is no 'one' answer, since your dealing with a two sided issue.
Almost everything that has a logo, has been trademarked.
Some companies want their logo shown, a while others may not, depending on the shows content.
Some production companies don't want any logos shown, some have a selective policy, some don't care.
While your at it, don't forget to watch backgrounds for copy-written art, incidental music etc.
SST Digital Media
At this point I am the clearance person, the videographer, the editor, the writer,the director, the marketing and sales person. I assume, in commercial television, this depends on the network?
It not only depends on the network, but sometimes even advertisers and people in the show.
So lets say car brand X gives the show a vehicle to use, they won't want the logo on that car blurred, but might want competing brands blurred that appear in the show. I saw this exact scenario play out on a network that had a policy of "no prominent logos", but made an exception for a major advertiser.
Another example is I cut a reality show pilot that had a scene at a rodeo, that had banners lining the arena. The client wanted three things blurred. One was a competitor to the main sponsor (clothing) banner, another was tobacco banner, and one was a ranch logo on one of the trucks whose owner didn't want his name, brand and phone number (which was on the door of the truck) in the show as a condition of participation. Everything else went as is.
Three different blurs, three different reasons.
Long story short, there is no 'one answer', and if there was, it could change tomorrow. This is why clearance is often a separate job.
SST Digital Media
So that makes it difficult to anticipate what to avoid while shooting a pilot that is not sponsored yet. I'll have 2 interviews in my pilot who are competitors. Now what!
Not only can you, today it's the very point. It's not as if advertisers are buying much commercial time anymore and that's a trand that will only continue until broadcast and cable are gone comepletely. If you are not working your sponsors into your content today, you probably aint making much content today.
So I've confirmed "potential" sponsors for interviews for the show, how do I then approach them to be a sponsor without making it sound like they must contribute to be in the show? I really don't want to make that an MO with anyone.
Thanks so much!
You simply give them a price list with various options for mention.
In my shows, I have prices for on air plugs, packages, my just wearing their hat or t-shirt, ect. This is the power of product placement... there is a lot of room for creativity by both parties.
"So I've confirmed "potential" sponsors for interviews for the show, how do I then approach them to be a sponsor without making it sound like they must contribute to be in the show? I really don't want to make that an MO with anyone."
Money is what it is about.
It's why we work, make shows, and especially make commercials. It's what we use to buy gear, put gas in the car, and pay bills.
If you are doing this on spec with your own money, you have to learn to sell, and you might want to consider a different approach.
First, write a business plan. Mistakes are easier to survive on paper.
There is nothing worse than finding out something like your underfunded in the middle of a project, or you can't sell your show. You can't 'unspend' what you have already invested, don't have the money to move forward, and can't sell an unfinished show. There are lots of other reasons to do this. To show sponsors and other investors, to have a budget to work with, to identify the 'customers' and other potential revenue streams, etc. And of course you want to make sure your revenue projections are realistic, and will actually fund what you are trying to do.
Second, unless your rich uncle left you a pile of cash, don't shoot anything, unless it's paid for, with hopes the person your shooting will jump on board and become a sponsor. Recipe for disaster. Until you know what sponsors you have and what resources they are willing to commit, how will you know what your budget is? And in their eyes, since you are already proceeding without their financial help, there isn't a clear 'call to action' or reason for them to invest.
If you want someone to become a sponsor, just go and talk to them. Show them your idea, and try to sell it. If they don't have cash, find out if they can participate in some other way. If they are a 'no-go' on financing, but you still need to interview them, do it later once you have the money (obtained from someone else) to move forward.
And one other thing is you have to have an in place deal to air your show when its done. It's the real 'chicken and the egg' that keeps a lot of projects from moving forward. Potential sponsors will want to know how many customers their message is going to reach. And to get a SWAG at that number, you have to at least know where the show will be seen. And if you get your show picked up, a lot of your clearance questions will get answered, you will get access to in place advertisers, help from the sales department etc.
Or you just need to find a sponsor that can foot the bill for the show, and buy the air time. That can either be an investor that thinks he can sell the commercial time inside the show to make a profit, or a business that the show features or highlights. None of this is easy. There are advertiser conflicts, content control, product placement issues and lots of other things to deal with.
Just some thoughts. There really isn't a formula for success, or any one particular way to go about this. The only real common denominator is that it is a business, and it is 99.9% about selling. The only real reason for TV shows, is to have something to air in between the commercials.
SST Digital Media
Scott has offered some very good advice.
My suggestion is that you either obtain 100% sponsorship in advance (and this discussion is over) or don't shoot ANYTHING until you have a contract in place for broadcast. As Scott pointed out, so many of the answers to your questions depend on external parties, that you can't possibly anticipate everything.
To repeat: 100% sponsorship, and logos go everywhere. No deal in place, your ONLY safe bet is to exclude ANY logos whatsoever.
Getting a "greenlight" for production often depends on pursuing BOTH sponsorship and a broadcast deal, and you may get a tenative "go ahead" contingent on sponsorship... which can help answer some of your questions.
Bottom line... this is why you see so much "blurring" on TV. Nobody ever get's everything wrapped up neatly in advance.
All very thorough, overwhelming, and appreciated insight. Goes with the territory of learning how to become something that is out of the comfort zone. I've had the luxury of working for an organization that has sales folks (non-profit world). Now it's my turn to really stretch myself and get my head organized as a marketer.
I believe the content of my show idea, based on just searching around for similar shows, is very timely (nothing out there at this juncture) for many reasons, but mostly because the popularity of it is increasing and someone else just might make it happen sooner than later. I want to be the first to do it sooner!
Please, any other support and ideas are so appreciated. You want to sponsor my show?! HA